Reporter: Ellie Mahan
January 5, 2022
Our Daily Bread, located at 100 Sims Drive in Whitney, provided food for approximately 2,000 families and 5,000 family members during the months of January to November 2021, for a total of over 116,000 pounds of food that was distributed during those 11 months.
The volunteers at Our Daily Bread Food Bank and the Lake Whitney Ministerial Alliance (LWMA) expressed sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of the 2021 food drive. Friday, November 19, the food bank exceeded its goal of 65,000 pounds of food with a total of 65,030 pounds of donations. By the end of November, the food bank had received the equivalent of 82,623 pounds.
“We are thankful for the support of our community, schools and business leaders,” Gay Craddock, LWMA President, said.
Area schools gave generously to the food drive, contributing significantly to the campaign’s success thanks to donations from students and families.
“Students had a great time working at the food bank and stocking our shelves as they brought in the food. Certificates of appreciation were presented to schools in honor of their outstanding commitment and generosity toward the battle against hunger,” Food Bank Director Connie Stahl said.
Stahl emphasized that the annual food drive is crucial because it determines how many families the food bank can help in the upcoming year. She was excited about the level of community involvement achieved with the Food for Families drive. She said it is hard to estimate, but the food from the November drive could supply the food bank with enough supplies for six months, with additional meat purchases made during that time. She said, “The community support in Whitney is amazing. It really is tremendous.”
Stahl has volunteered with Our Daily Bread for about eight years and has been the director of the food bank for three years. She said her favorite part of leading the food bank is working with people who are just as passionate about helping others.
“It’s helping the clients, and it’s working with all the people who are here for the same reason, to volunteer. Everyone here are seniors, so we left the workforce and are retired, and now we have the time to give back to the community and work here and work together, and we have a lot of fun,” Stahl said.
She said that when clients visit the food bank, the goal is to provide everyone in their household with food for one week.
“It frees up one week’s paycheck so that they don’t have to spend that money at the grocery store. They can spend money to get little Johnny the new pair of shoes he needs or fix the flat tire on the car, get the heater fixed, or whatever else because they may just be trying to get by,” Stahl said.
One out of every four Whitney residents lives in poverty according to federal standards. According to the Our Daily Bread website, a 2019 survey of Whitney Food Bank clients shows that 60% of clients have had to choose between food and paying for bills or medical needs during the past year, and 70% of clients receive food from the Whitney food bank as often as allowed. Stahl suggested that Whitney is similar to other small towns in that it has limited employment opportunities compared to larger cities, which is part of the reason there is a high rate of food insecurity in Whitney. Our Daily Bread serves a high population of elderly clients as well, which Stahl said may be because the seniors had jobs in the past, but they just do not make enough during retirement.
Stahl said, “It’s so hard to leave here if you’re in that boat because even if you had an opportunity to get a really good job in Dallas at $15 an hour or $20 an hour, start at the bottom and work your way up, you’ve got to have reliable transportation. You’ve got to have enough money to put down a deposit on an apartment.”
The demand for the food bank only makes her job more worthwhile. She looks forward to when the food bank can open its doors again one day and visit with clients instead of offering curbside services only. She misses interacting and building a rapport with clients but is happy to serve them in whatever way she can.
“I look forward to coming here and getting the job done and working with all the people who are all just as passionate about helping people,” Stahl said.
To help feed the hungry in the Lake Whitney community, mail monetary donations to Our Daily Bread c/o Lake Whitney Ministerial Alliance, P.O. Box 1502, Whitney, Texas 76692 or donate online at lakewhitneyministerialalliance.org. Donors can also drop off a check at the food bank and get a receipt for tax deduction.
Contact Connie Stahl at email@example.com for more information about how to help.