HOUSTON, TX – The Houston Food Bank is in trouble! One of their major contributors, the Share the Harvest Foundation, is having a tough time finding someone to take over when their founder steps down. That could mean an end to 350 tons of rice handed out each year and could leave a lot of folks around town hungry.
Share the Harvest is a group of rice growers who donate 700,000 pounds of rice each year to the Houston Food Bank for people in need. To date, they’ve given 8.3 million pounds.
The man behind the charity, John Travis Garrett, Jr. (“Jacko” for short), grew up farming in Danbury, Texas. Since 1984, Jacko’s family has been donating part of their rice harvest to the Houston Food bank. In 1999, he found other folks to pitch in, too: more farmers who donated rice, millers who agreed to process it, even trucking companies who delivered it free.
Hundreds of thousands of hungry folks in the Houston area have been helped by their efforts. But there’s a problem: Jacko’s getting up in years. At 70, he says he can’t get out and hustle like he used to, and nobody’s stepped up to take his place. If no successor is found, Houston Food Bank president Brian Greene says it could mean a major blow to the number of folks they could feed. “Actually I’m quite terrified… the day he can’t do this anymore because it is a very significant source of food for us,” explains Greene, “the food that’s one of the most sought after items, not just for this food bank but any food bank in the country.”
For more on the Share the Harvest Foundation and the predicament they’re in, check out this month’s Houstonia.