Bringing fresh food to 'food deserts' in the Brazos Valley

Published: Dec. 3, 2019 at 5:42 PM CST
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The Brazos Valley may feel humid, but there are some deserts here—well, food deserts.

A food desert, according to Morayo Suaro, health promotions coordinator at the Brazos Valley Food Bank, is when a population doesn’t have access to fresh, healthy and nutritious food at an affordable price.

“They might not have a grocery store or a farmer’s market nearby, so they get food at a convenience store or a gas station, which doesn’t have as much room for fresh, healthy food,” said Suaro. This leads to obesity and diabetes, conditions that are expensive to treat, especially on a low family budget.

Suaro says the issue is often transportation. Maybe the low-income family doesn’t have a car. Maybe public transportation is nonexistent in their rural area. Whatever the case may be, “If a convenience store or a gas station is the closest place, that’s where they will go,” said Suaro.

Even less rural counties, like Brazos County, aren’t immune to the issue. See the Related Links for an interactive map on food desert statistics.

Because of this data, the Brazos Valley Food Bank is actively fighting to bring nutrition right into the heart of these food deserts.

“We have mobile food pantries that we take into these areas,” said Shannon Avila, programs manager at BVFB, “and 38 percent of what we hand out is fresh produce…and even more is nutritious non-perishables.”

Donating cash or these non-perishables can help fight Brazos Valley food deserts:

- Canned fruit with no sugar added

- Canned vegetables with no salt added

- Canned fish or chicken

- Peanut butter

- Shelf-stable dairy items

The KBTX Food for Families Food Drive is Wednesday, Dec. 4. More details are below.

The holidays are a time when family and friends come together. As the family of KBTX prepares for the holidays, we invite you and your family to join us Wednesday, December 4th at the Brazos Center in Bryan for the 24th annual Food for Families Food Drive.

During this event, we will broadcast live throughout the day as we work to alleviate hunger in the Brazos Valley. Shop any of your local grocery stores using the list below as a guide to help you support this incredible effort that benefits the mobile pantry operated by the Brazos Valley Food Bank, your local non-profit organization “seeking to eliminate hunger by the distribution of food and grocery products through a network of nonprofit organization while providing education and community awareness on issues of hunger.” Together we can make a difference.

Additional drop sites are located at the Kimbro Center, 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Pridgeon Community Center in Franklin, 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Hearne Railroad Depot in Hearne, 6:00a.m. – 7:00p.m., St. Mary’s, Lady of the Lourdes Catholic Church Hall in Caldwell, 6:00a.m – 7:00p.m. and Mid-South Synergy in Navasota from 6:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

To your family, from our family at KBTX-TV, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Items Needed
(Please Remember, Non-perishables only! No homemade or perishable items will be accepted.)

Beans (canned or dried)

Vegetables (canned)

Canned Meats

Cereal (family size)

Cereal (individual size)

Cereal Bars



Diapers (child & adult)


Fruits (canned)

Mac n’ Cheese

Fruit cups (shelf stable)

Granola Bars


Juice Boxes (individual size)

Ketchup & Mustard

Vienna Sausages (poptop)


Paper Towel

Peanut Butter

Pudding (shelf stable)

Rice Ravioli



Soup (regular and pop top)

Toilet Paper

Tuna (regular and pop top)

Tuna/Chicken Salad kits

Bottled Water

2018 Totals
Overall Total

177,869 pounds


Brazos Center

133,216 pounds


Burleson County

12,764 pounds


Robertson County

3,134 pounds


Madison County

13,755 pounds


Grimes County

15,000 pounds


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