According to the latest census figures, as many as 66,000 Houstonians go hungry every day. Holiday food drives, like our own ABC13 Share Your Holidays drive, collected enough food to feed almost 80,000 families this holiday season.
Dozens of volunteers spent Saturday morning helping to make the holidays a little more comfortable for a lot of local families.
"This is the 33rd year of Channel 13's Share Your Holidays," said Brian Greene, Houston Food Bank president. "And this is the day where, in addition to everything else we do, we do a massive distribution."
About 18,000 food boxes -- put together with help from ABC13's Share Your Holidays food drive -- were picked up from the Houston Food Bank headquarters on Portwall. Those boxes are expected to feed 40,649 adults and 39,110 children over the next week.
"We pick up the boxes this morning," Alice Bongers with Heights Interfaith Ministries Food Pantry said. "We take them apart, we put them back together; we add a turkey."
The Heights Interfaith Ministries Food Pantry is one of about 100 local agencies that work to distribute the donated food.
"A lot of people are on social security. They have bills that have to be met; medical bills, medicine," Bongers said. "They don't have money left over for food."
Saturday's big event lasts the Houston Food Bank through the holidays and beyond. The food that wasn't picked up by volunteers Saturday will still go to families who need it.
"This will make Christmas for a lot of folks, and it's just great that the community reaches out and donates all this food," said Bill Breetz, Kroger southwest regional president.
Saturday was also a "Board Day of Service." Members of the Houston Food Bank Board of Directors -- including ABC13 President and General Manager Henry Florsheim -- volunteered their time, loading family food boxes into the vehicles of the partner agencies.
Volunteers from ABC13 helped with some of the heavy lifting as well. Close to 500 pallets were loaded onto waiting trucks and trailers -- 500,000 pounds of food on its way to those who need it most.
"Young kids come in; they get excited over a box of macaroni and cheese," Bongers said. "I can't imagine a child going to sleep hungry."
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