Houston’s Hunger Problem

A family receives their monthly pantry box.

Houston has a hunger problem.  Across our city, many of our neighbors lack access to nutritious food.  It is part of, and grows out of, a wider set of challengesmany of our neighbors face—access to health care, affordable housing, and job training.  Similar to how we tackled chronic homelessness, in order to solve our hunger problem, Houston needs to comprehensively attack its causes.  Target Hunger is at the epicenter of that fight and is uniquely positioned to help win it.

Target Hunger is one of the largest distributors of food relief in Houston, helping those in some of the most under-served and vulnerable parts of our city.  Our team puts boots on the ground in these neighborhoods, seeing first-hand the challenges and needs of our neighbors and, through our Navigation Services, connecting them to job training, nutritional education, and critical social services.  By both providing immediate hunger relief and tackling its root causes, we are helping our neighbors build an enduring path out of hunger.

A Postpartum Mom Struggling to Provide

Stephany shops for her family at her monthly pantry distribution.

One of those neighbors is Stephany, a mom of 2 rambunctious little boys – ages 4 and 1. She also lives with, and cares for, her disabled mother. When having her youngest son, she was out of work with unpaid maternity leave. Her dependent family relied on SNAP to assist in covering basic costs. It was during this time that she found out about, and joined, the Target Hunger pantry program. The food received through the program greatly helped by supplementing what she was purchasing with her SNAP benefits.

Stephany has since returned to work and is still trying to pay back expenses she accrued during her maternity leave, on top of the ongoing expenses she currently has. As a result of returning to work, she no longer receives the SNAP benefits her family still greatly needs. The continued assistance from the pantry program has given her and her family a reprieve during this time of struggle. “It’s been hard. I’m struggling to pay back everything from the months I didn’t work. We’re struggling, so the pantry program means a lot to us.”

This summer, Stephany and her boys have also benefitted from being a part of the Summer Breakfast & Lunch program, in addition to their monthly pantry box. “I’m not able to buy so much milk, so the boys are able to get the food they need.” Stephany said, with a giggle, her boys loved the food. “We appreciate all your help and support. Even if you don’t think it’s a lot, it means a lot to us.”

This Hunger Action Month, you can help families like Stephany’s receive the assistance they need during moments of hardship. By donating today, you can help Stephany and other struggling moms like her get access to nutritious, fresh food for themselves and their children.

We hope you’ll join us today in the fight against hunger in Houston.

Hunger Action Month 2023

Hunger Action Month is a campaign to spread awareness about food insecurity and hunger in the United States. With more than 34 million people considered food insecure, 9 million of which are children, it’s an ongoing and important issue for the country. As we’re in the first week of Hunger Action Month, we thought it would be a good time to write about the state of hunger in Texas and in our service areas. According to Feeding America, over 4 million people are facing hunger in Texas, which amounts to about 1 in 7 people in our home state. How many people are in your office? In your child’s classroom? How many of your neighbors? You might know someone who is hungry!

No lack is felt more acutely, and causes more dire consequences, than a lack of food. And each day in Harris County and throughout Houston, almost 15% of residents are struggling to survive in a state of chronic food insecurity, a number higher than both the state (13%) and national (10%) average. In Target Hunger’s primary service area which focuses on the underserved populations within the northeast and east region of Houston, the percentage is even higher with between 19-24% of the population being food insecure.

We also know that children are no strangers to the issue of hunger: 1 in 6 children face hunger in Texas, and 53.4% of households receiving SNAP have children. Hunger in children is a particularly detrimental issue. Children who are hungry face learning difficulties, educational setbacks, nutrient deficiencies, and other health issues. 

Imagine you are back in elementary school, enjoying the fun and adventure that 3rd grade brings. Now imagine going to school without breakfast, sitting through the first several hours of class before you can enjoy the lunch provided by school. Would you be able to focus on your schoolwork? Many students facing hunger struggle with focus.

Target Hunger served 17,276 unduplicated individuals in 2022 and distributed the equivalent of over 1.2 million meals. Additionally, about 30% of our clients were under the age of 18. As we make our way through Hunger Action Month, these numbers loom large in our heads. Food continues to be a very real need in our community year-round. As long as there is a need, we will be here to serve. We hope you will join us in the fight against hunger by making a donation or signing up to volunteer. You can also spread awareness by sharing this post with your friends and colleagues and following us on social media.


2023 Staff Resolutions

2023 Staff Resolutions

Staff at our ’22 Holiday Party

We are excited for the start of the New Year and for the continued opportunity to serve our neighbors in need in Houston. As we reflect on 2022 and look forward to 2023, Target Hunger staff set resolutions for the new year. Read on to see what we’re bringing to 2023 and share your own resolutions with us! 

I just want 2023 to be full of nothing but good changes in every aspect of life.” 

–  Mildred Reyes, Mobile Services Coordinator 

A sample of Klarisa’s art


“This year, I will try to dedicate one day per month to some painting time! Painting has brought me joy since I was a child and it used to be a great pastime of mine, but over the years I’ve lost the hobby. I realize how much I miss it and how much it helped my mental health and self-care to have creative alone time. I’m no Picasso, but it’s a lot of fun! In 2023, I look forward to getting back in touch with my artistic side!” 

– Klarisa Perales, Office Manager 


“My new year resolution is to spend more time outside, whether that means taking my dogs on walks or even doing brunch on the patio. I also want to set up a good skin care routine and be consistent with my sunscreen use. Keeping positive vibes in 2023!” 

– Regina Ferral, Volunteer Manager 


Staff at our ’22 Holiday Party

“Try something new each month. Cook with less meat and focus on more plant-based foods.”

– Carrie Grzelak, Director of Development 


“Go to more concerts and live shows – I love music, art, and theatre and haven’t been able to attend many performances the last few years. I also want to renew my love of cooking by experimenting more with new recipes.” 

– Hannah Urie, Development & Communications Coordinator