10 things Cedar Park-Leander pantries need before Christmas

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TX – There is so much to love on vacation. From the decoration of the tree to the opening of the gifts to the festive meal with all the trimmings, Christmas is the time to take stock of all your blessings.

For those at Cedar Park-Leander who are feeling the real effects of hunger this Christmas, it can be a lot harder to see the joy of the season. Children go to bed on Christmas Eve hungry. Families will forgo the traditional holiday meal they cannot afford to prepare.

Hunger in America is closer to home than you might think. In fact, Williamson County is among the places that have been hit hard by hunger in 2021.

Before the pandemic, 59% of people in Williamson County were considered food insecure, according to Feeding America, the nation’s largest organization against hunger. The continued economic fallout from the pandemic has pushed that number to 4% on the verge of hunger.

Nationally, more than 38 million Americans – including 12 million children – are considered food insecure, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Many food-insecure families are not eligible for federal nutrition or food assistance programs, so they visit their local food banks to help them get through tough times.

As a result, pantries and food banks saw a 55% increase in their use during the pandemic, according to the latest data from Feeding America, erasing a decade of progress toward ending hunger in the United States.

Meanwhile, the price of food is rising. Due to inflation, the prices of everyday food items distributed to pantries have risen by about 3 to 17 percent, according to a report by National Public Radio. This means that pantries are feeling a greater financial burden, as more and more families are turning to them for help.

Fortunately, the holidays are also a season of giving, which means there’s no better time to donate to your local pantry or food bank.

Wondering what to give or where to start? Here are the 10 items most pantries, including those in Williamson County, need while on vacation:

  1. Peanut Butter
  2. Canned soup
  3. Canned fruit
  4. Canned vegetables
  5. Canned Stew
  6. Canned fish
  7. Canned beans
  8. Wholemeal pasta
  9. Brown rice
  10. Kid-friendly items such as granola bars, pudding cups, or fruit snacks

It’s important to note that the most needed items in a pantry don’t tend to change depending on the holiday or time of year. Most could use these donated items year-round, according to Feeding America.
Here are the nearest pantries in Williamson County:

Central Texas Food Bank

6500 Metropolis Dr. in Austin

El Buen Samaritan

Photo patch / Shutterstock

Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help educate the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that by 2021 more than 42 million Americans will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch Social Good Project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. * Find out how you can donate in your community or find a pantry near you

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