EL PASO, Texas -- Susan Goodell, CEO of the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger organization, shared dire news this week about the current situation of the food banks in El Paso County. At County Commissioner's court, Goodell explained that both funding and manpower have substantially decreased - causing closures of two meg-pantries, and reduced hours of distribution.
Without an increase in the amount of funding or manpower in the near future, the organization is looking at having to permanently close their west side mega-pantry, which is already temporarily closed until further notice, as well as reducing at home food deliveries by 50% and ending their homeless feeding programs.
In 2020, the food bank was funded for $19 million in resources. Through September of this year, the organization hasn't reached $6 million. The need for food is still there, but the organization simply doesn't have the resources or the manpower to be able to provide food for all the members of the community in need.
In addition, the workforce has had to be cut as well. At the start of the year, Texas National Guard members had about 90 volunteers. Now, they have just a third of that number, and after this week there will be none. In January, AmeriCorps accounted for about 60 volunteers, now there are only five remaining.
Before the pandemic, it was estimated that 18.8%, or 157,776 people, in El Paso County lived in poverty. Another 33% were considered income constrained. With the two tough year that followed, the need is just as great, if not more now than before. Goodell said that on Monday, over 80 cars were lined up at all the way out to Gateway Boulevard at the food bank, which she says hasn't seen lines like that since last year.
If you want to help out El Pasoans Fighting Hunger, you can sign up to volunteer or make a financial donation by clicking here for their website.