The project began as a 7-county drive with the Waco Board of Realtors joining News 10 as a partner the first year. H.E.B. Food Stores became the third partner in 1991.
In 1995, the Waco Association of Realtors left the project to pursue other efforts and the Heart 'O Texas Council, Boy Scouts of America became the third partner of Food For Families.
Texas Army National Guardsmen had been volunteering for Food For Families for several years but complicated federal legislation limited their participation. In late 1998, the Secretary of the Army granted special permission for the Texas Army National Guard to become our fourth partner.
The rapidly increasing number of "new poor" appearing at area food banks and the plea from those food banks for help prompted News 10 to initiate Food For Families in November, 1990. Designed to stock the shelves, of area food banks and pantries beyond the holiday season, Food For Families gathered 84,435 pounds of food the first year.
In several counties, no food pantry existed prior to Food For Families. Caritas in Waco and the Food Center in Killeen, the primary food pantries in Central Texas, helped establish food pantries in the counties where none existed.
On Friday before Thanksgiving, Food For Families is showcased in live television reports every half hour from 6am until 8pm. Television news reporters and anchors broadcast from every televised site. Volunteers from the Boy Scouts, H.E.B. Grocery Company, Texas Army National Guard and other community service organizations staff each site. The food collected in each county remains in that county for distribution by local nonprofit organizations.
Food For Families has grown to become the largest one-day food drive in Texas encompassing 9-counties with 21 televised sites in Central Texas. In 2013, Food For Families gathered 1,505,253 pounds of food.
Food For Families is an annual event sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America, H.E.B. Grocery Company, Texas Army National Guard and News 10.