Food drives planned as post-pandemic food insecurity remains high in Bell County

Blessings on the Block will roll out its mobile food pantry on Saturday, Feb. 19, to give out...
Blessings on the Block will roll out its mobile food pantry on Saturday, Feb. 19, to give out free food to anyone who needs it.(Michael Cantu KWTX)
Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 6:08 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (KWTX) - The need for food relief remains high in Bell County and food distribution events are planned this weekend in order to help with that need.

One of the food drives was organized by a group named Blessings on the Block. It will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at 901 S. Ann Blvd in Harker Heights. Another food drive will take place 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Christian House of Prayer at 3300 E. Stan Schlueter Loop.

“We take the pantry to the people,” said Pastor Byron Sago, who helps run Blessings on the Block.

Before Saturday’s event, he was loading up food boxes that were headed to Rancier Middle School in Killeen. Those food boxes are work he and his wife do on top of the general food distribution events they have every other month.

Most of the work he does, including his church ministry, is done from inside his garage.

It is something he started doing after the pandemic, because he noticed the need to help people in the Harker Heights and Killeen area.

“As you can see (the pantry) looks small, but we’re powerful,” said Sago.

It has also been since the beginning of the pandemic the issue of food insecurity started to rise statewide.

“We certainly understand that COVID has a pretty large impact on why we see that increase,” said Kayla Mize.

She works with a group called the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty. It researches trends related to hunger and poverty.

The group has found more than 15% of Bell County residents are food insecure as of 2019. And they expect updated data to show that number rose to around 17% for 2021.

“Thinking about unlivable wages, looking at family budgets that are swallowed up by health care expenses or housing expenses,” said Mize.

But getting food to hand out does not always come easy, said Sago.

His organization and others are always looking for ways to stock up on what they can give out.

“But a lot of times we need help,” said Sago. “And we just can’t do it without the help and support of the community.”

Copyright 2022 KWTX. All rights reserved.