The past present and future of the High Plains Food Bank

Nov. 14, 2022

The High Plains Food Bank hosted a luncheon, “Harvest of Hope,” to celebrate four decades of being able to provide food to residents in the Panhandle.

In the luncheon, the food bank members discussed their challenges due to the pandemic and inflation, but through the help of so many of their community partners and through the help of so many people who have worked so diligently at the food banks they have distributed 8.2 million pounds of food throughout 29 counties across the Texas Panhandle in 2021.

Jamie Singleton was a former executive director at the High Plains Food Bank and has worked there for 17 years. Many new programs started during her tenure in 1999 and a $1.3 million capital campaign was started to expand the food bank by 40,000 square feet. In 2003, another capital expansion of 11,200 square feet of stage building and four freezer spaces were added, all of this to help meet the need of hunger here in our community.

“We distributed 1.7 million pounds of food, which is nothing compared to what’s going on today. But I was still going to the food bank, because of what they were doing in the community.” Singleton said. ” I had no idea, but I certainly was drawn because I felt that God was calling me to step out and try something different.”

Singleton found out that one of our biggest needs was to really expand our service center, and there were a lot of rural communities who wouldn’t ask for help, and there were many of them that were going without food.

Jeanine Fabbri

Zach Wilson, who is the current executive director of the High Plains Food Bank, discussed how the Kids Café program started in 2003, and it is to help feed kids and prepare healthy dinners in Amarillo Independent District in the summertime.

“It’s expanded, we built the kitchen in 2014. In 2020, they were doing over 1,200 meals a day and now it’s expanded into snack programs in certain areas.” Wilson said.

The High Plains Food Bank also has a rural delivery service where they are on the road every single day, with four semis delivering food to their surrounding counties. They wanted to step up to help the nutrition education programs.

In April ] 2020, it began to unfold for them; they didn’t have volunteers, they couldn’t buy food fast enough and they didn’t know where to get food. In June of 2020, the food bank redistributed 1.2 million pounds of food and they did it again in November of that year. Their overall average in 2020 was a little over 800,000 pounds of food.

Jeanine Fabbri

According to the High Plains Food Bank annual report 2021 letter, thanks to the community’s donations, they were able to replace half of their truck fleet with more trucks.

High Plains Food Bank staff are going to renovate a building a block north of the food bank, where they’re going to move all their offices for the staff to that facility. It will allow them to have more room and a bigger meeting space.

“Making sure that what we do moving forward is we’re putting the person at the center of hunger, at the center of everything that we do,” Wilson said. “Not just getting cucumbers or pumpkins, because we like them or the place that they’re going to likes them. But what does the person who needs food, what do they want? That’s what I mean about putting the person at the center of everything that we do.”

The High Plains Food Bank will expand their space to establish a food assistance center or food pantry that they will own and operate at the food bank.

The High Plains Food Bank wants to draw people in and get everybody to pitch into this mission to have a bigger impact in their community. With every dollar, they can provide 14 meals to neighbors in need. Whether it’s food, money or time you’re giving, every donation makes a difference in our community.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • Graphic of High Plain Food Bank’s mission

Food banks like the High Plains Food Banks are always looking for hands-on help from volunteers, but they also accept donations online. You can visit the High Plains Food Bank website for more information.