Recently, I overheard the following statistic: 65% of AISD students are receiving free or reduced price meals (i.e. 65% of Amarillo ISD students cannot afford to pay for lunch at these prices). WOW. I called AISD to fact-check (yep, I’m that guy). AISD informed me that the number was probably somewhere around 60%. So, being the nerd that I am, I decided to compare this number with some other cities to see if Amarillo is out of whack somehow. Lubbock: around 62%. Abilene: around 79%. Tyler: a little over 60%.

Let’s ignore the fact that lots of people are likely abusing the system. The numbers are still shockingly high. A few other Amarillo hunger-related statistics:

Faith City Ministries served over 100,000 hot meals and almost 18,000 sack lunches in 2010.

City Church serves around 100,000 bag lunches to kids over the summer (source).

High Plains Food Bank served 143,000 meals to kids in 2010 through its Kids Cafe program*updated

The Salvation Army in Amarillo served around 96,000 meals last year.

I’ve heard of another organization in town that feeds around 40,000 meals per year (I’m not naming them because I haven’t double checked the statistic). The point? Amarillo is a hungrier city than I thought. Want to help? Any of the organizations above will be glad to convert your money into food for the hungry.

In fact, you can donate online

here: donate to Faith City Ministries

here: donate to City Church

here: donate to the High Plains Food Bank

here: donate to the Salvation Army

Also, these organizations (and others) are always looking for volunteers…and not just to help with food. You might consider volunteering to help serve food (my wife hooked us up with City Church-over the summer our kids will get to help prepare meals for other kids-how cool is that?). You might consider serving on an organization’s board of directors if you would rather help with big picture stuff such as “How can we serve more efficiently?” and “How do we walk the line between helping and enabling?”

The Nonprofit Service Center offers periodic “board member training” seminars. This is a great place to get started if you are interested in serving on a board. Your money will help the problem. Your ideas will help solve the problem. I encourage you to help one way or another. Got an idea that will help this problem? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear it.