LUBBOCK, Texas — H-E-B partnered with the South Plains Food Bank to raise $50,000 to make up for the recent increase in food-insecure families, the food bank told KLBK News on Thursday.

One in seven families and one in four children on the South Plains are food insecure, which means they do not know where their next meals will come from, according to Morgan Baker, Director of Communications at South Plains Food Bank.

“Typically in a non-COVID-affected year, we expect to serve about 59,000 families. That number has jumped to 98,000 families. We’ve seen like a 70% increase just this year in the amount of people that we serve,” Baker explained, adding the increase in hungry families means the food bank has to serve “a lot more people with a lot less” resources.

“We are staying open until six o’clock Monday through Thursday in order to serve more people. That’s led us to [serve] an extra 200 to 300 boxes per day, every single day, which is not even accounting for senior box distributions like this,” the communications director shared.

H-E-B said it wants to help the food bank serve the additional families.

“For the next three days, you’ll see a bunch of cereal boxes out to encourage customers to purchase and drop them in the donation bins on their way out the door,” said Alyssa Ownens, H-E-B Public Affairs Specialist.

The food bank said it hopes people will donate 16.9 ounce, “regular-sized” boxes of cereal, instead of family-sized boxes.

“That fits perfectly within our food boxes. Think about how that adds normalcy to like a child’s life. You wake up in the morning and you have a bowl of cereal for breakfast, and you go to school. That can really add a lot of normalcy,” Baker said.

H-E-B posted QR codes through out the store that will take customers directly to the food bank’s website, so they can easily make donations. There would also be opportunities to donate $1, $3, or $5 at the register, Owens said.