The West Texas Food Bank finally debuted its long-awaited Produce Pod, which was created to provide rural areas of West Texas with fresh produce. The Produce Pod launched Monday, July 19 at the Martin County Food Pantry.
Although original operations of the Produce Pod halted due to the pandemic, it is now fully equipped to serve underprivileged areas in each of the 19 counties the food bank serves, as reported by CBS 7.
The Produce Pod teamed up with Chevron and Community Kitchen, which served around 1,500 kids through Kids Cafe and other summer meal programs before the pandemic.
“We’ve always been really proud of our relationship with Chevron. They’ve done such amazing things for the West Texas Food Bank and the 19 counties that we serve. Chevron’s always been there to help with mobile distributions and with our partner agencies. Chevron’s always helped," West Texas Food Bank Executive Director Libby Campbell said. "They’ve always been really great with being innovative community corporate partners which is exactly what you need in the food bank business, especially during times like COVID.”
Although the pandemic changed the way the food bank operated, it didn’t force their kitchens to shut down entirely. Instead, it forced them to pivot and create a new way to bring fresh produce to the 19 counties it serves.
“(This will) give them an extra storage space or capacity immediately to help store cold items so they can hand those out to our clients,” Campbell said. “So for (Chevron) to be able to work with us and provide a solution for our partner agencies and our mobile distributions to provide immediate storage is huge. Of course, Chevron was able to jump on and always believed in our crazy, innovative ideas.”
According to Odessa American, the food bank served a total of 6.4 million pounds of food before the beginning of the pandemic. Last year, they ended at 10.4 million pounds, and this year they are projected to end the year at 13.3 million pounds of food. This remarkable growth is attributed to the food bank's dedication to serving its communities.
For more information regarding the Produce Pod in Odessa, please visit the West Texas Food Bank’s website here or call 432-580-6333.