This just in: Airplane food is not just the butt of jokes anymore – it’s also a charitable donation. The Houston Food Bank recently started accepting unused food from Continental Airlines for its Backpack Buddy program which aids kids classified as “chronically hungry.” Houston Food Bank spokeswoman Betsy Ballard says these tykes usually don’t eat regularly on non-school days.
“Monday through Friday they’re going to get school breakfasts and lunches and that’s gonna help them through the day, but over the weekend they’re kind of screwed. They don’t have food in the house in a lot of cases,” Ballard tells Hair Balls. The Backpack Buddy program pairs with area schools to make sure these kids have food to take home for the weekend. Ballard says Continental’s donation helped them expand into more schools.
“We’re harvesting about 3,000 pounds of food every week,” says Ballard. “It’s prepackaged cereal, raisins … muffins. It’s anything that we can take that would follow our usually heath department regulations.”
And hopefully your good-taste regulations, right?
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
“Yeah,” Ballard laughs. “It’s working really well for us.”
She says the donations consist of the leftover food that goes uneaten on flights. After each trip, the food that was declined by passengers is normally discarded because it makes for quicker transitions – old food out, new food in – Ballard says. But now those items are saved for the Food Bank.
“That passenger that chose not to eat that day is feeding a child,” she says. (Or avoiding heartburn – Hey O!)
— Dusti Rhodes