Area residents needing food can still get it from the Killeen Food Care Center in Killeen, executive director Raymond Cockrell said Tuesday.
The food bank in north Killeen, 210 N. 16th St., operates 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The recent countywide shelter-at-home order by Bell County Judge David Blackburn listed food banks as an essential service.
One person who was there Tuesday to pick up food — or client as the food care center refers to them — said he is grateful that food banks are essential services.
“Right now, any kind of food is better than no food in my opinion,” said Barry Payton, a Killeen resident.
Prior to the shelter order, Cockrell had seen an increase in need at his food bank.
“We saw 600 families last week,” Cockrell said Tuesday. That is an increase of around 100 to 200 families from a normal week.
With what is going on, Cockrell said he thinks it will become the new normal.
“I think we’ll continue to see it increase,” he said.
New clients make up about 15% of the total families being served, which is an increase from the normal 10%.
Payton is also gearing up for worse news.
“As far as the pandemic, if they don’t find some kind of cure ... it’s not going to get any better; it’s going to get worse.”
Right now, the food bank has full shelves and a full warehouse. In order to continue to meet the demands, however, Cockrell said he has taken to social media to enlist the help of the community to provide food donations.
Approximately half of the food bank’s stock are donated directly by H-E-B and Walmart, and the rest is purchased by the Central Texas Food Bank.
“We’re not getting near the donations that we get on a month to month basis,” Cockrell said.
The food care center will take any non-perishable food items, and it will also take monetary donations.
The biggest donation needed, according to Cockrell, is masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. These supplies are needed to safely and prudently serve those in need.
Those who need the service can come in during hours of operation. The food bank will request minimum demographic information and will request a photo ID, but none of it is required to get food.
“If you show up at our door and say that you need groceries, we will give you groceries,” Cockrell said.
Cockrell said on average, people will walk away with around 30 to 40 pounds of food.
“They try to make sure you have what you need according to your family size,” said Ann Vandroff who was getting food with her mother-in-law Juanita Garcia.
Cockrell said the food care center is on pace to serve more than 100,000 families and serve around 3 million pounds of food in 2020.