Two million pounds and counting: Catholic Charities continue food distributions
January 12, 2021
Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston has distributed more than 3.6 million pounds of food in Houston, Galveston and Richmond. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Charities)
Catholic Charities food distributions quadruple in Fort Bend County alone, underscoring historic need for food assistance amid pandemic
RICHMOND — The Mamie George Community Center (MGCC) recently surpassed the two million-pound mark in food distribution since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
MGCC is the Richmond-area hub for services provided by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in Fort Bend County, including food and financial assistance and a robust program for seniors.
“During the pandemic, Catholic Charities is distributing four times as much food as usual to families in need,” said Gladys Brumfield-James, MGCC executive director. “The lines are long for help from our food pantry because COVID-19 drained resources for families all across Fort Bend County.”
Brumfield-James said the center is seeing many families who were previously financially stable before the pandemic but lost jobs and wages cut into their savings and plunged them into crisis.
“We’ve had people coming in who never thought they would be struggling to feed their families,” said Brumfield-James.
The MGCC distributed more than 2.1 million pounds of food, provided by the Houston Food Bank, over nine months from the center in Richmond.
Scores of volunteers reported week after week to help load cases of fresh produce, protein items and non-perishables into long lines of vehicles. The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department provided officers to manage traffic, with nearby parking lots acting as staging areas.
In all, the effort fed 154,341 Fort Bend families in need.
For seniors and other clients who are unable to leave their homes during the pandemic, MGCC is working with DoorDash to make deliveries of food to homebound clients through a program funded by the United Way of Greater Houston.
Center staff and volunteers have also been checking in with senior clients on a regular basis since the pandemic began.
Like many seniors, Edna, 72, has the challenge of living on a fixed income. But she is also battling cancer with limited medical insurance. As she sought treatment, thousands of dollars in medical bills began to pile up. Not knowing where else to go, she found the MGCC.
Soon, Edna immediately found relief. Her case manager delivered boxes of food to her front door since she was unable to drive. She received financial assistance to purchase an expensive nutritional supplement to help her remain strong in her fight against cancer.
Edna also received a Thanksgiving meal box that she would otherwise be unable to afford.
Edna’s case manager also helped her find available options to help pay her medical bills and assisted her with the application process. Recently, Edna received a letter informing her that her medical bills would be paid for the year.
“Catholic Charities has helped me with so much, and I am so grateful,” Edna said. “I thank God that He gave me people that see my needs and have heard me. I am very thankful for it.”
MGCC will continue to distribute food as the pandemic wears on. On Jan. 5, the center transitioned from a first-come, first-served approach to allow families to make appointments to receive nutritious food. Families will still be served in the safety of their vehicles via drive-through distribution, receiving food that will be reserved for each family.
Appointments can be made for Tuesday through Thursday mornings by visiting www.CatholicCharities.org/food. For more information, call 281-202-6289.
Since March 2020, Catholic Charities has distributed at least 3.6 million pounds of food in Houston, Galveston and Richmond, where distributions continue. For hours and location addresses, visit www.catholiccharities.org/covidfooddistribution or call the Catholic Charities COVID Assistance Line at 713-874-6521.