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With the entire country finding itself in unchartered territory due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia’s office is working around the clock to help its residents maintain a sense of normalcy during these uncertain and trying times. This past week, Precinct 2 proudly partnered with Second Servings of Houston, a 501(c)(3) organization that partners with hotels, event venues, and food distribution warehouses to ensure that no food goes to waste. The partnership was a perfect fit, given all the events being canceled, and so many families left without a steady income.

 

The First-ever Precinct 2 Pop-up Produce Giveaway

On Monday, March 23rd, Second Servings provided the Precinct with two pallets (or about 10,000 individual pieces) of apples and pears for distribution to the public. Precinct 2 employees bagged the fruit throughout the afternoon on Monday, and by 1 p.m. on Tuesday, they were ready for pick-up. After announcing the pop-up food giveaways on social media (one at Grayson Community Center in East Harris County and one at Flukinger Community Center in Channelview), 90% of the bags were in the hands of people in need within two hours! By the next morning, the remaining produce was gone.

 

Precinct 2 Pop-up Produce Giveaway #2 is an Even Bigger Success

On Thursday, March 26th, Second Servings received word that the Hilton-Americas in downtown Houston was suspending operations and needed to clear its kitchen. At nearly the same exact time, a local food distribution warehouse found itself with thousands of pounds in overstock of carrots, potatoes, and other produce, with nowhere for it to go. Precinct 2 staff snapped into action once again, and this time the results were even more astounding. Staff worked to separate and bag all the assorted produce, a process which took more than six hours.

That evening the Precinct announced on social media another giveaway scheduled for 7 a.m. the following morning at Northeast Community Center in Aldine. The first car showed up at 5:30 a.m., and by the time the pop-up officially began at 7 a.m., there was over a mile-long line of cars waiting. By 8:40 a.m. all the produce (nearly 1,000 bags containing approximately 20 individual pieces each) was in the cars of people who desperately needed it.

What We've Learned & What’s to Come

In total, Precinct 2’s partnership with Second Servings has resulted in almost 10,000 pounds of food given to nearly 2,000 families. As this Coronavirus crisis continues, the need to help people will only be greater.

For more information on future pop-up food giveaways, be sure to follow Harris County Precinct 2 on social media (@HarrisCoPCT2 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

Precinct 2 and Second Servings Pop-up Produce giveaways by the numbers:

Estimates from the Tuesday pop-up fruit giveaway:

-Approximately 1000 bags were assembled with about 10 pieces of fruit per bag

-1000 families served, small portion (less than 75) went to existing home bound seniors in our program, remaining went to families who found out about the pop up from social media & outreach

Timeline:

-Monday 1:30 p.m. fruit picked up

-Tuesday morning all fruit bagged

-Tuesday 1 p.m. pop up giveaway announced and promoted on social media

-Tuesday 3 p.m. all bags (430 total) at Grayson Community Center given out

-Tuesday 4 p.m. 100 bags remained at Flukinger Community Center

-Wednesday AM remaining bags at Flukinger distributed

-within 26 hours of pickup, 90% of fruit distributed

-within 40 hours all fruit distributed

Estimates from Pop-up #2

-Over 1,000 bags were made with approximately 20 pieces of produce inside each

-At least 1,000 families served, difficult to estimate the exact number as some cars had reps from more than one family inside

Timeline:

-Thursday 10 a.m. first pickup from Hilton Americas downtown

-Thursday noon second pickup from food distribution warehouse

-Thursday 5:10 p.m. social media push began

-Sorting and bagging completed after 6 p.m. Thursday

-5:30 a.m. Friday first car shows up at Northeast Community Center

-7 a.m. Friday distribution begins

-8:35 a.m. Friday all produce distributed

-Within 22 hours, 4,000 pounds of produce picked up, sorted and bagged, and given away