By the numbers

How Houstonians Fed Each Other During the Pandemic

A snapshot of the astounding impact Bayou City's nonprofits made during the first three months of the pandemic.

By Timothy Malcolm November 26, 2020 Published in the Fall issue of Houstonia Magazine

Volunteer pack boxes at the Houston Food Bank.

AS FRED ROGERS ONCE SAID: “ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE HELPERS.” During the Covid-19 pandemic, as hundreds of thousands of Houstonians have lost jobs and many have gone without regular meals, the helpers have been out there. Nonprofit organizations have risen to the challenge of this time, cooking meals and supplying produce and dry goods for those needing assistance.

Here’s a snapshot at the astounding impact they’ve had on Houston, in the first three months of the pandemic alone, by the numbers:


Children ages 5 and younger fed per day, on average, by Kids’ Meals bagged lunch program. 

$10 million

Estimated value of food rescued by Second Servings from food donors from March to May 2020. 


Pounds of produce donated by local farmers to Houston Food Bank in April. 


Total pounds of food distributed by the Houston Food Bank to its sites.


Chef-prepared meals provided to Houstonians by Second Servings through its Dinner’s On Us program, launched at the start of the pandemic. 


Volunteers per week cooking and packing lunches and driving and delivering meals at Kids’ Meals (reduced from more than 2,000 a week due to concerns about spreading the virus.)


Households per week, on average, served by Houston Food Bank via food pantries and assistance programs


Meals distributed from Houston Shift Meal–partnered restaurants to food and bar workers during the first months of the pandemic. 


Individual volunteers working at Houston Food Bank and pantries during the first phase of the pandemic.

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