WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Wichita Falls Area Food Bank has spent the last 40 years trying to eliminate hunger in North Texas, being there for our food-insecure neighbors every step of the way.

Kara Nickens, CEO of the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank, said it all started four decades ago with a couple of volunteers who saw a need for food in their community.

“So, they started distributing food from an empty warehouse downtown,” Nickens said. “Thankfully some got together and the University of Kiwanis donated a portion of this building. It started out as a one-room building with two volunteers [and] they sorted food in the parking lot.”

What started out as just two volunteers has grown into a full staff at the food bank [and] a tribe of volunteers. All working toward the same goal: being there for people through the hardest of times.

“It takes more money to take care of your family right now so the food is still going out as fast as it’s coming in whereas during the pandemic shelves were staying full but as you can stay behind me now they’re staying empty,” Nickens said.

Nickens says she sees the need for food in our community grow each day. In fact, the food bank distributes 4.4 million pounds of food every year.

“You hand it to them [and] they are so grateful [and] sometimes they cry [and] it’s just for things they don’t even get to choose, you [and] I have the luxury of going to the supermarket choosing what we want [and] don’t want, getting produce, they don’t have that choice [and] they are getting what we hand them [and] they are so grateful for that,” Nickens said.

While 40 is a big milestone, their work in this area is far from done.

“I wish we didn’t need to be here for 40 more but I think hunger is gonna be here and we’re gonna be here as long as there’s a need in our community,” Nickens said.

Remember your donations, time [and] gifts to the food bank go a long way. September is also hunger action month plus, the food bank is also a part of Texoma Gives this year. You can make a donation here.