You might not see it, but senior hunger is all over the Brazos Valley

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 10:37 AM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Guy Leighman receives food five days a week from friendly volunteers through Meals on Wheels. The air force veteran can not leave his home, so they come to him. It’s not just about the food though. It’s about the connections, especially for volunteer Brandy Hernandez.

“A lot of these seniors don’t have a lot of local family or local representation for them so sometimes we’re the only ones who come out to see them,” said Hernandez.

Volunteers only visit during the week though. Seniors depend on bags prepared by the Brazos Valley Food Bank on the weekends. They look a lot like bags the food bank prepares for kids in our schools. Volunteers put together about 300 a week.

“They have choices to make that probably children wouldn’t have to make. Medication, health care, or food or utilities. Those things aren’t going to change. Their medications are going to be less expensive,” said Programs Director Shannon Avila.

She says it’s been hard for seniors like Leighman, especially during the pandemic.

“It’s a little morbid so, seniors are more impacted by COVID so the programs we work with are more impacted as well, so they might close down. There might be, for instance in September there was a localized breakout that caused one of our partners to shut down to close down and not distribute. And of course, some seniors have passed because of COVID so it’s impacted how many seniors we’re able to reach right now,” said Avila.

Hernandez has been volunteering off and on for the last decade or so, and she’s certainly seen the impact of the pandemic.

“Before COVID I had about 31 meals and then after a lot of funding, unfortunately, we did lose some people to COVID, now I have around 21 people that I serve on my route.”

Roughly one in 10 Texas seniors are waiting for somebody like Brandy to knock on the door. Your donations of time and money can help do something about that.

To support local school pantries and all of the Brazos Valley Food Bank’s programs, you are invited to participate in the KBTX Food for Families Food Drive on Wednesday, Dec. 1. See the full lineup here.

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