Houston Regional Office

Houston City HallPhoto by Ed Schipul

About the Houston Office
The Texas Hunger Initiative's Houston Regional Field Office exists to empower Houston area residents to gain equal access to healthy food.

Check out our Facebook Page!

Contact Our Staff

Megan Hoag

Regional Director, CPRI Specialist

John Puder

Child Hunger Outreach Specialist

Vet Hines

Field Organizer, AmeriCorps VISTA

Amelia Baines

Community Partner Recruitment Coordinator
Texas Impact AmeriCorps *VISTA

Ann Marie Garcia

Community Partner Recruitment Coordinator
Texas Impact AmeriCorps *VISTA

Dang Nguyen

Texas Impact AmeriCorps *VISTA

Table of Contents

1 .............................................
Join Our Team for the Summer!
2 .............................................
Community Partner Program
3 .............................................
Child Hunger Outreach | No Kid Hungry Campaign

Join Our Team for the Summer!

Summer VISTA_Austin


What is the Summer Food Service Program?

During the school year there are 2.8 million Texas students on the free or reduced lunch program, which provides breakfast and lunch five days a week. These students often go without consistent meals on the weekends and holidays. The summer break is a particularly difficult time for such students when those meals are no longer provided. This lack of access to adequate nutrition has been linked to poorer academic performance, which can easily perpetuate the vicious cycle of poverty. Fortunately, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) enables organizations active in low-income communities to offer free meals to children who might otherwise go hungry during the summer break.

What are Summer Associates?

Summer Associates are AmeriCorps VISTA members working with he Texas Hunger Initiative regional staff (THI) to increase participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) across the state. They work on a variety of tasks that can include, but aren't limited to, creating strategic plans, designing outreach materials, developing nutrition education materials, and implementing creative activities for children at Summer Meal sites.

What are the dates for the program?

There are two options for service:

How do I apply?

You can complete an application here. For more information, contact Megan_Hoag@baylor.edu and John_Puder@baylor.edu.

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Community Partner Program

The Community Partner Program is an initiative of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) that assists community-based organizations in helping people apply for and manage their public benefits online via the HHSC web portal: www.YourTexasBenefits.com.

Hundreds of thousands of people across Texas are eligible for SNAP and other public benefits, but are not receiving them. Billions of dollars in available resources go unused.

In the Houston Region alone, hundreds of millions of dollars in available resources to combat hunger and poverty are squandered because many families are not accessing these benefit programs.

Contact one of Texas Hunger Initiative’s Houston-area Community Partner Recruitment Coordinators to learn how your organization can become a Community Partner to ensure that your clients or congregation members get signed up for all the benefit programs they are eligible for:

Amariee Collins
Michael Apata

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Child Hunger Outreach/No Kid Hungry Campaign

No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in five children struggles with hunger. We’re working to end childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. And we need your help to accomplish this in the Houston area!

Here’s how we do it:

School Breakfast

Research demonstrates the importance of providing breakfast to children and youth. Children who eat a good breakfast tend to:

  • perform better in school;
  • have a better attendance record;
  • exhibit fewer behavior problems;
  • develop healthy eating habits;
  • visit the school nurse less frequently; and
  • are less likely to be obese.

  • Despite the benefits of breakfast, for a variety of reasons, many families can't provide for their kids a healthy breakfast every morning. The Texas Hunger Initiative (THI), Share Our Strength’s lead partner for the Texas No Kid Hungry campaign works to help schools and school districts implement universal alternative breakfast programs. THI works in partnership with the USDA and Dairy MAX to reach out to superintendents and school nutrition directors in large school districts across the state and discuss the importance of the federal School Breakfast Program and innovative delivery models, such as Breakfast in the Classroom.

    School Breakfast Contact Information:

    Madalyn McDaniel,

    Max Castillo,

    Summer Meals

    For families who count on school breakfast and lunch, the summer months can be stressful and family food budgets have to be stretched even further.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers free Summer Meals to kids across the Houston Region similar to School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, except meals are free to all kids that come to a registered Summer Meals site.

    These Summer Meals Programs can help families save money and stretch their already tight summer food budgets. Many Summer Meals sites, which are registered with the USDA, offer fun learning and recreational activities so kids and teens can eat a healthy meal while staying active and hanging out with friends

    Families in all of Texas can find free Summer Meals sites by going to www.summerfood.org, calling 211, or texting FOODTX to 877-877.

    What can you do to help ensure kids are fed when school is out for summer?

    Help get out the word through a coordinated effort to distribute information about free summer meals in your area, so that no child goes hungry!

    To help, contact John Puder with the Texas Hunger Initiative ’ Houston Regional Office at John_Puder@baylor.edu

    Afterschool Meals

    Afterschool programs help to keep young people safe, help working families and inspire learning. These programs are also critical in providing many children with healthy, nutritious meals after school.

    For many of these children, that meal or snack they receive at their afterschool program is the last food they will have until a school breakfast the next morning.

    The federal Afterschool Meals Program funds afterschool meals and snacks year-round.

    THI is working to expand participation to ensure that all children have access to afterschool meals.

    If you know of an afterschool program that might be interested in providing federally-funded, free meals as part of their program, learn more by contacting John Puder, THI Child Hunger Outreach Specialist. Local government agencies, faith-based groups and private nonprofits are eligible.

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