EDINBURG, Texas – Food Bank RGV held its second Mass Drive-Thru Emergency Pantry at H-E-B Park in Edinburg on Tuesday.

The event enabled the nonprofit to distribute up to eight times more food than a regular drive-thru food bank distribution.

The model used enabled those requiring food to avoid getting out of their car, thus maintaining social distancing. Staff, volunteers, and members of the Texas Army National Guard placed the food into the vehicle trunks of attendees.

A valid form of ID and proof of address was required of those seeking food. 

Stuart Haniff, CEO of Food Bank RGV (pictured being interviewed above), said the increase in demand is “exponential,” when compared to this time last year. 

“We are seeing now 281 percent more people than we did a year ago. We are serving an additional 30,000 a week. Many of these people have never had to utilize a food bank before.”

Food Bank RGV serves Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy counties. Haniff said that every $1 donated to the nonprofit provides enough nutritious food for five complete meals. 

“We have an incredible return rate. Ninety eight cents out of every dollar goes directly to providing food.”

Asked if undocumented residents can access the food, Haniff said the only requirements are a valid form of ID and proof of address. “Our goal is to feed people; to make sure those in need get food.”

Haniff added: “We have been going 35 years. We have been through our fair share of disasters and crises, and we will be here no matter what comes next to make sure we fight hunger and keep hope.”

— Dayna Reyes

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