HOUSTON, Texas (KIAH) -Nearly a year and a half into the pandemic, and millions of people are still dealing with the burden of job loss, homelessness, and hunger. As a result, leaving many families with no choice but to reach out for help. The Houston Food Bank has over 18,000 community outreach partners like schools, pantries, and churches.

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The West Houston Assistance Ministries is one of them. Their mission is to serve anyone who needs help with things like food, clothing, finances, and more. We spoke with a guy who says his family would be hungry if it wasn’t for these organizations.

The pandemic is forcing many families to re-evaluate their access to survival resources like money, meals, and shelter. For Elmer Watkins, a Houston resident, it’s having access to food. Watkins is a former accountant. He was laid off after his work contract ended. This is his first time struggling with food insecurity. 

For Watkins, it was more than making sure he was fed. He did it for his grandkids. Having the extra responsibility and mouths to feed forced him to make a selfless decision to seek public assistance.

“They’re eating me out a house and home so I know I need to get something,” said Watkins.

Watkins says he felt embarrassed along with many other emotions. “Shameful. That you’re not taking care of your obligations and I’ve always wanted to take care of my obligations as far as paying bills and having food in the house,” he said.

Food isn’t the only obstacle Watkins faces. West Houston Assistance Ministries pays for his light bill. In addition to providing meals, Watkins says he’s grateful and appreciative. Having the help he needs allows him to save money for other essentials.

“I have my grandkids for the – until the end of this month. I couldn’t let them be without because of my pride,” said Watkins.

Watkins says if you’re not seeking help for your own good, do it for the ones you love. “Don’t be bashful or ashamed. Put that pride to the side,” he said.