Bringing fresh food to ‘food deserts’ in the Brazos Valley

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The Brazos Valley may feel humid, but there are some deserts here—well, food deserts.

A food desert, according to Morayo Suaro, health promotions coordinator at the Brazos Valley Food Bank, is when a population doesn’t have access to fresh, healthy and nutritious food at an affordable price.

“They might not have a grocery store or a farmer’s market nearby, so they get food at a convenience store or a gas station, which doesn’t have as much room for fresh, healthy food,” said Suaro. This leads to obesity and diabetes, conditions that are expensive to treat, especially on a low family budget.

Suaro says the issue is often transportation. Maybe the low-income family doesn’t have a car. Maybe public transportation is nonexistent in their rural area. Whatever the case may be, “If a convenience store or a gas station is the closest place, that’s where they will go,” said Suaro.

Even less rural counties, like Brazos County, aren’t immune to the issue. See the Related Links for an interactive map on food desert statistics.

Because of this data, the Brazos Valley Food Bank is actively fighting to bring nutrition right into the heart of these food deserts.

“We have mobile food pantries that we take into these areas,” said Shannon Avila, programs manager at BVFB, “and 38 percent of what we hand out is fresh produce…and even more is nutritious non-perishables.”

Donating cash or these non-perishables can help fight Brazos Valley food deserts:
– Canned fruit with no sugar added
– Canned vegetables with no salt added
– Canned fish or chicken
– Peanut butter
– Shelf-stable dairy items

The KBTX Food for Families Food Drive is Wednesday, Dec. 4. More details are below.

The holidays are a time when family and friends come together. As the family of KBTX prepares for the holidays, we invite you and your family to join us Wednesday, December 4th at the Brazos Center in Bryan for the 24th annual Food for Families Food Drive.

During this event, we will broadcast live throughout the day as we work to alleviate hunger in the Brazos Valley. Shop any of your local grocery stores using the list below as a guide to help you support this incredible effort that benefits the mobile pantry operated by the Brazos Valley Food Bank, your local non-profit organization “seeking to eliminate hunger by the distribution of food and grocery products through a network of nonprofit organization while providing education and community awareness on issues of hunger.” Together we can make a difference.

Additional drop sites are located at the Kimbro Center, 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Pridgeon Community Center in Franklin, 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Hearne Railroad Depot in Hearne, 6:00a.m. – 7:00p.m., St. Mary’s, Lady of the Lourdes Catholic Church Hall in Caldwell, 6:00a.m – 7:00p.m. and Mid-South Synergy in Navasota from 6:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

To your family, from our family at KBTX-TV, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Items Needed

(Please Remember, Non-perishables only! No homemade or perishable items will be accepted.)

Beans (canned or dried)
Vegetables (canned)
Canned Meats
Cereal (family size)
Cereal (individual size)
Cereal Bars
Chili
Coffee
Diapers (child & adult)
Flour
Fruits (canned)
Mac n’ Cheese
Fruit cups (shelf stable)
Granola Bars
Jam/Jelly
Juice Boxes (individual size)
Ketchup & Mustard
Vienna Sausages (poptop)
Oatmeal
Paper Towel
Peanut Butter
Pudding (shelf stable)
Rice Ravioli
Pasta
Sugar
Soup (regular and pop top)
Toilet Paper
Tuna (regular and pop top)
Tuna/Chicken Salad kits
Bottled Water

2018 Totals

Overall Total
177,869 pounds
$144,457

Brazos Center
133,216 pounds
*$102,861

Burleson County
12,764 pounds
$26,168

Robertson County
3,134 pounds
$1600

Madison County
13,755 pounds
$5828

Grimes County
15,000 pounds
$8000

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