In her five years as executive director of the West Texas Food Bank, Libby Campbell helped spearhead a successful capital campaign for a new facility, expand a program to feed students on weekends and distribute more and fresher food to the huge territory the agency covers.
Campbell also has a voice in state and national food bank organizations.
The West Texas Food Bank is one of 21 in Texas. It covers 19 counties in West Texas, which is about 34,000 square miles all the way down to the border with Mexico. The food bank is part of the Feeding Texas Network.
“We come together to work on hunger issues in the state and we also work together when there are disasters like (Hurricane) Harvey,” Campbell said.
If there were a disaster in the southern part of the food bank’s territory, food banks in San Antonio, Dallas or Austin would provide extra supplies or manpower.
“We have a pretty big territory that we cover. We have a mix of rural and urban hunger. Because Midland/Odessa really is a metroplex in itself, we do deal with urban hunger problems here. Then you get outside of our area and you really start dealing with food deserts,” Campbell said.
She added that there aren’t as many grocery stores in some areas and access to fresh food or even food itself is limited.
Last year, the food bank distributed 6.3 million pounds of food, not including for victims of Harvey. For that disaster, a little more than 600,000 pounds of food was distributed. Many coastal food banks, including the one in Houston, went down during the flood.
She said she’s proud that Odessa helps those in need in the areas hardest hit by the hurricane.
“We are currently still aiding in recovery in those areas. We are concentrating in a partnership with the East Texas food bank, which is located in Tyler. They are helping out Beaumont food bank. They’re a smaller food bank, so East Texas is basically taking our supplies and helping to distribute in the northern part of their territory,” Campbell said.