H-E-B announced Wednesday a new initiative that aims to raise $2 million for Texas food banks struggling to meet demand since the coronavirus outbreak began. 

Through a campaign called the Summer of Giving, with every customer purchase of H-E-B brand products through Sept. 8, the grocer will donate to Feeding Texas, a network of food banks, until it reaches the goal. 

“Together, we are Texans helping Texans,” said Winell Herron, H-E-B group vice president of public affairs, diversity, and environmental affairs.

The number of Texans who are relying on food distributions, such as those coordinated locally by the San Antonio Food Bank, has doubled since the COVID-19 crisis began in March, said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas, during a virtual press conference.

“About half of those families are visiting a food bank for the first time,” Cole said. “So this is a new face of hunger.”

In June, the network distributed over 89 million pounds of food, serving close to 400,000 families every week, Cole added. “Meeting this demand is a daily challenge.”

The latest H-E-B donation, which the grocer estimates will provide 2 million meals, follows previous efforts by H-E-B to support the growing need as statewide unemployment rises.

In March, H-E-B announced a $3 million commitment to support coronavirus relief efforts, which included nearly $2 million to benefit Feeding Texas and organizations such as Meals On Wheels. Since then, H-E-B has provided 300 truckloads of food to Texas food banks – about 7.5 million pounds of food or 6.2 million meals.  

“It’s important that as Texans we really pull together to help those families and children struggling with hunger,” Herron said. “We know that throughout the years, especially during times of crisis, H-E-B and our loyal customers have demonstrated our eagerness to find ways to help those in need.”

The H-E-B donation is tied to customer purchases of H-E-B’s more than 20,000 “own brand” products, including Hill Country Fare, H-E-B Organics, Mi Tienda by H-E-B, Meal Simple, and more. 

H-E-B will contribute to the effort from transactions made in stores, online, via the My H-E-B mobile app, and through Favor Delivery. It also includes purchases at H-E-B, Central Market, Joe V’s, and Mi Tienda locations.

H-E-B operates 400 stores throughout Texas and Mexico and employs over 120,000 people. The privately-owned company reports annual sales of $28 billion.

Disclosure: H-E-B and its chairman, Charles Butt, are Rivard Report members. For a full list of supporters, click here.

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.