Thank you for your interest in supporting Hays County Food Bank by helping to collect food to feed those in need! Food drives help keep our shelves stocked with nutritious food so that we may continue to feed the hungry men, women and children in Hays County. We welcome your request to host a food drive and hope this toolkit provides clearly defined roles for both the organization/individual hosting the food drive (the “third party”) and Hays County Food Bank.
What does Hays County Food Bank do?
We are a team of passionate individuals who are committed to improving lives through food assistance programs, nutrition education, and advocacy.
- Food Assistance Programs:
- Public food distributions
- We provide food for 4 public distribution sites that households can visit up to 1 time each week.
- Partner agencies
- Food is given, at no cost, to more than 20 partner agencies (church or school pantries, shelters, or other nonprofits serving low-income households).
- Backpack program
- Liaisons at our partner schools determine kids in need, and we provide kid-friendly food items for them to take home.
- Mobile food pantries
- Twice a month, we partner with Central Texas Food Bank to provide a mobile food pantry at Rattler Stadium.
- Turkeys Tackling Hunger
- Holiday meal boxes, complete with a turkey and traditional sides, are given out each November to households in need.
- Nutrition Education:
- We strongly believe that everyone should have a basic knowledge of how to cook, what to cook, and the reasons our bodies need or don’t need certain items. The food bank offers semesters of nutrition education with targeted classes for seniors and children. We also teach open cooking classes each month.
- 1 in 7 in Hays County, or roughly 25,000 individuals aren’t getting enough to eat. There is enough food for all, and we are working hard to redistribute resources so that everyone gets fed.
What happens to the food?
Donated food is inspected, sorted, and packed for distributions and partner agencies.
What does hunger look like in Hays County?
According to Feeding America, about 1 in 7 in Hays County are considered food insecure. This means that approximately 25,000 people in our county do not have sufficient access to enough nutritious food for a healthy lifestyle. Who are these people? They are:
- Families that choose between rent and groceries.
- Children who rely on free school lunches.
- Mothers who skip meals so children can eat.
- Fathers who work two jobs because childcare is expensive and mom stays at home with the kids.
- Retired seniors who live off their social security but it's not enough.
- Homeless individuals with mental disabilities who can't work.
- Working people who got laid off and just need a little help.
How many households does Hays County Food Bank help?
On average, the food bank provides food to 750-900 households each week.
How can I get more involved?
We welcome volunteers! We have a very small staff, so volunteers play a vital role in helping us fulfill our mission. Volunteers drive our food rescue vans, sort through food donations, hand out food at distributions, and more. If you would like to join our team of amazing volunteers, please check out the Give Time page of our website.
Do you accept financial donations as well as food donations?
Yes! Financial donations allow us to buy what we need when we need it and are also needed to keep our facility operating and our programs functioning. For every $1 donated we can provide up to 4 meals.
What times of year are food drives most needed?
We always have a need for food donations. However, our highest needs come in late spring and summer when school is out and at the end of the year during the holiday season.
What types of food should be donated?
We accept both nonperishable and perishable food items. Nonperishable items need to be labeled and sealed. Open items and those without labels cannot be accepted. We also welcome donations of fresh produce from local gardeners and farmers. Please visit the Give Food page for a full list of shelf-stables items we need.
Do you have boxes or barrels available for use?
We recommend that you use small boxes and grocery bags to collect food. Sources for free boxes and bags are your local grocery or liquor stores. This will make it easier for loading/unloading and storage at our warehouse.
Can you pick up my donation?
Depending on the size of your food drive we may be able to pick up your food. If your food donation is over 500 pounds (approximately, 500 cans), we have limited availability for food drive pick-ups, based on driver and van availability. If you are eligible to have your food drive picked up, please call our Operations Department at 512-392-8300 x235 to arrange for pickup. Our designated pick up times are Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm to 3pm. However, if you are able to deliver, please do, as that helps us maintain efficiency and keep costs down, allowing us to serve an even greater number of families in need.
What items should not be donated?
- Expired food
- Opened food
- Home canned goods
- Unlabeled food
- Avoid food in glass jars as it can easily break during transport and cause a safety hazard