2016 marks the 27th anniversary of Food For Families in Central Texas
The project began as a 7-county drive with the Waco Board of Realtors joining News 10 as a partner the first year. H.E.B. Food Stores became the third partner in 1991.
In 1995, the Waco Association of Realtors left the project to pursue other efforts and the Heart 'O Texas Council, Boy Scouts of America became the third partner of Food For Families.
Texas Army National Guardsmen had been volunteering for Food For Families for several years but complicated federal legislation limited their participation. In late 1998, the Secretary of the Army granted special permission for the Texas Army National Guard to become our fourth partner. In 2016, the changing world picture and federal rules are once again limiting Guard participation.
The rapidly increasing number of "new poor" appearing at area food banks and the plea from those food pantries for help prompted News 10 to initiate Food For Families in November, 1990. Designed to stock the shelves of area food pantries beyond the holiday season, Food For Families gathered 84,435 pounds of food the first year.
In several counties, no food pantry existed prior to Food For Families. Caritas in Waco and the Food Center in Killeen helped establish food pantries in the counties where none existed.
Each year, on Friday before Thanksgiving, Food For Families is showcased in live television reports every half hour from 6am until 8pm. Television news reporters and anchors broadcast from every televised site. Volunteers from the Boy Scouts, H.E.B. Grocery Company, Texas Army National Guard are joined by other community service organization volunteers to help at the collection sites. The food collected in each county remains in that county for distribution by local nonprofit organizations.
Food For Families has grown to become the largest one-day food drive in Texas encompassing 9-counties with 18 televised sites in Central Texas. In 2015, Food For Families gathered 1,841,414 pounds of food. In its 26 year history, Food For Families has gathered 22,840,613 pounds of food.
Food For Families is an annual event sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America, H.E.B. Grocery Company and KWTX News 10.
The Food For Families partners provide an umbrella of promotion and support for the dozens of food pantries throughout Central Texas.