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Brazos Valley mobile food pantry welcoming first-time recipients

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 11:01 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many to utilize resources like food pantries for the first time.

Andi Hawthorne, the Brazos Valley Food Bank mobile food pantry coordinator, said she has met many first-time recipients who feel judged for attending mobile pantries.

“It takes time for them to realize that it’s okay and that we’re not there to judge them because that’s not why we’re here,” Hawthorn said.

The mobile pantry serves Washington County, Grimes County, and Madison County. Madison County only has one other public pantry, according to Hawthorne.

“It makes a huge impact for those families because it gives them another place to get food until they can go to that pantry again,” Hawthorne said.

The mobile pantry partners with the Brazos Valley Food Bank, which has seen low donations this year. In turn, the food bank has had to purchase more food than usual.

“There were concerns about the packages passing on the virus, so we saw less food donations,” Shannon Avila, Brazos Valley Food Bank programs coordinator, said. “Then, there were shortages in the local retail supply, so people didn’t have as much surplus to be able to donate.”

Food donations and monetary donations greatly help the food bank and the people it serves.

“Generally people who are food insecure have other concerns as well, and that’s not the only concern they’re facing and so that’s just one less concern to deal with,” Avila said.

For those who are still hesitant to attend a food pantry, Avila said they want to serve.

“Everyone needs a little help from time to time, and there’s no shame in needing a little help,” Avila said. “That’s what we’re here for.”

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