Texas State Militia volunteers at the Houston Food Bank

Saturday, Dec. 1st 2018
Sometimes our “Wants” are just our “Needs”

     Last weekend, The Texas State Militia: Houston Unit joined forces with the Houston Food Bank near downtown Houston to sort, package, and palletize nearly 18,700 meals for Houston’s hungry, poor, and elderly communities. Because community service is not just about defense, TSM Houston volunteers on a regular basis. Some of our fellow Houstonians lack the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter, and clothing. The Texas State Militia cares deeply about the people in the Houston community. Particularly those who cannot care for themselves, such as children, the elderly, and the sick. When we have an opportunity, it’s time to go to work, and work we did.

The Houston Food Bank is remarkably organized. The facility is around 20,000 square feet and every inch of the space is used for one purpose or another. The facility relies primarily on volunteers to provide the manpower to process and package the food. In fact, the vast majority of the staff are dedicated to organizing, training, and monitoring volunteers while they work.

But where do they get all of this food?

     Texans all over the southeast part of the state have very big hearts. This spans from the individual to the large corporation. Corporations however, in are in the position to make the largest contributions to the needy and hungry. Grocery chains such as Kroger and HEB, as well as independent farms and producers donate hundreds of tons of late or recently expired food annually. This food is still within the range of “safe to eat” and thus still as a very high nutritional value.

Every week, trucks from all over Texas carry massive amounts of food from local grocers or farms to the Houston Food Bank, which is then sorted, packaged and shipped back out all by volunteer Texans! From the start to finish, no part of this is paid for, it’s just Texans helping Texans. All in all, nearly 1,500 different organizations are involved with bringing free food, preparing it, or donating money, time and resources to the Houston Food Bank. In fact, all of these factors make The Houston Food Bank the largest food bank in the United States! There is no doubt that Texas is the “Friendship State”.

Who gets the food?

Through the Houston Food Bank’s website, one doesn’t have to look hard to find a resource to get food assistance. The Houston Food Bank has over 600 distribution partners that service different groups in the Houston and surrounding areas.

One of these groups is the senior or elderly community. In many cases, seniors living alone or living in a nursing home do not have the money to purchase or the ability to prepare meals for themselves or their tenants. Nursing homes are one of the most underfunded organizations in America, and this usually leaves our seniors without the necessities. Some of these seniors have served their country in the military or merchant marines, some have been nurses, or paramedics in their younger days. They have given much of themselves to our community and country and this is our chance to repay them.

Another group that desperately needs the assistance is schools in lower income areas. Children often come to school without money or food. The state of Texas has assistance programs that utilize the foods The Houston Food Bank donates to put together healthy, nutritious meals for children in need. Imagine as a child having to go to school not knowing if you were going to get lunch. How can a child be expected to learn or get fired up about their education if school is yet another source of worry and sometimes ridicule for them?

Texas State Militia gets Involved

This being the Texas State Militia’s first time volunteering with the Houston Food Bank, we were blown away by the organization and the sheer number of volunteers that showed up just for that Saturday. Literally hundreds showed up to help prepare the foods. This included men, women and children of all races and backgrounds. When it comes to helping our fellow Houstonians, and fellow Texans, volunteers know no division. This is the same for Texas State Militia. The media tends to portray the militia in an extremely negative light. Common characterizations include racists, rednecks, violent gun toting fascists, etc.. In fact many of the other volunteers were surprised to find out how diverse and “normal” we were. This saddens us, but it does give us hope that the narrative can change.

Our Mission

In the militia, our primary goal is to support and defend our communities. In peace time, this means we have plenty of time to help out in the community. The Houston Food Bank was the perfect way for us to help. Sorting crates of veggies, bagging them, palletizing them, getting them ready for shipping, these are all things that without volunteers like us, could not be afforded. We understand that labor is not cheap, and were it not free, the food would come at a cost. That cannot happen. The people who need this food have no financial means of getting it. The food has to be free or else they become malnourished or could even die of starvation. The Texas State Militia understands this and knows that the kind of labor we provide is priceless.

All in all, TSM produce over 18,700 meals for the senior community in the Houston Area. We only wish we could see the food delivered to the individuals that need it the most. Perhaps someday.  Until then we have added The Houston Food Bank into our normal list of volunteering projects, which include adopt-a-highway, Habitat for Humanity, upkeep at veterans cemeteries, among others.

Very Grateful

Thank you Houston Food Bank for everything you do. We definitely plan to volunteer there again!

If you are interested in helping to defend and support our communities in Houston or anywhere else in Texas, consider the Texas State Militia. We train hard and give a lot to help our fellow Texans and defend the constitutions of The United States of America and the great state of Texas. #helpie

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