By Amanda Hill

Texans are a giving breed. If their neighbor is in need, they’ll bend over backwards to help out. That’s one of the reasons I’m proud to call this state home. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see true Texas charity in action. It’s a unique partnership between Texas farmers and ranchers, the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Food Bank Network where the farmers donate their excess farm fresh produce, eggs, milk and meat to be distributed to food pantries across the state.

The program, called “Texans Feeding Texans,” encourages farmers and ranchers to donate their products to one of the 19 regional food banks across the state. I had the chance to visit the Capital Area Food Bank in Austin and meet their President and CEO Hank Perret.

Hank Perret, Capital Area Food Bank

Hank Perret, president and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank in Austin, talks with a team member about coordinating volunteers to sort donations.

Hank and his team are working toward a goal of collecting at least half of the food donations that fill their 60,000 square foot center from local farms.

Farm fresh produce

Thousands of pounds of fresh produce wait to be distributed to Central Texas food pantries.

To reach that goal, Hank and the Capital Area Food Bank team rely on farmers like Jason Jones of Vital Farms. Jason raises pasture fed chickens on a farm just minutes from the food bank. Every week, he donates eggs to go to hungry Texans.

Jason Jones, Vital Farms

Jason Jones, co-owner of Vital Farms, collects eggs to donate to the Capital Area Food Bank.

The Texans Feeding Texans program is a great example of Texans reaching out to help their neighbors. I believe that healthy eating is a right, not a privilege set aside for those who can afford it. Farm fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, eggs and meat should be incorporated into our diets—regardless of economic status or situation. I applaud the Texas farmers and ranchers and the regional food banks for making fresh, healthy food available to all Texans.

To learn more about the Texans Feeding Texans program, read my latest article in Texas Agriculture, Texas Farm Bureau’s membership publication.