Goya Foods marks holidays with 250K-pound donation to Texas families

Goya’s Christmas donation of 250,000 pounds of products including beans, coconut water and other products will be distributed directly to thousands of families in Texas with the help of local food banks. Photo courtesy Goya Foods

Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, says it has donated 250,000 pounds of food to families and individuals in need during the holidays throughout Texas.

The company enlisted the help of Catholic Charities of Houston, Catholic Charities of San Antonio, Houston Food Bank and the North Texas Food Bank in distributing pantry staples such as beans, rice, canned vegetables and broth, officials announced Friday.

"As we celebrate the birth of Christ within the blessed union of the Holy family, we're helping to bring families in need together by providing a nourishing meal," Goya President and CEO Bob Unanue said in a statement.

"This donation is a gift from our Goya family to families in Texas. With the spirit of giving ingrained within our company values, we are committed to serving communities and advancing the wellbeing for all throughout the world."

The Goya donation comes as the state of Texas is seeing more residents facing hunger than at this time last year -- the North Texas Food Bank said this week it is distributing more than 15% more food than it did in July.

There are 640,000 people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone who are currently food insecure, according to Erica Yaeger, the food bank's chief external affairs officer, who adds that private support for the operation is down.

Yaeger said the food bank expects to continue distributing about 400,000 meals per day during the holiday season.

Texas has the second-highest rate of food insecurity in the United States at 15.5%, more than 4% higher than the U.S. average, according to the Department of Agriculture's latest annual study measuring food security across the country.

It found that nearly 1-in-6 households in the state are food insecure, meaning that more than 1.7 million families -- including approximately 4.6 million Texans -- are at risk for hunger.