Helping Hands in Houston

Barbara Bronstein, J76, leads a nonprofit that delivers food to the needy as demand swells in Harvey’s aftermath

Barbara Bronstein

As Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters recede, Barbara Bronstein, J76, is focused on the issue she knows best: feeding Houston’s hungry. Despite the challenges of washed-out roads and disrupted supply chains, her organization is putting food on the table at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and low-income housing around the city.

“We have been able to carry on with non-stop service since the roads opened in primary delivery areas,” said Bronstein, founder of the nonprofit Second Servings of Houston, which collects prepared food from sites such as hotels and cafeterias and delivers it to nonprofits that feed the hungry.

Barbara Bronstein with volunteers in Houston. Barbara Bronstein with volunteers in Houston.
Still, there have been setbacks. On Wednesday, “we had two eager volunteers travel over one hour to help, only to be turned away by a police barricade blocking access to a flooded road,” she said. “They were extremely disappointed.”

Bronstein, a 30-year resident of Houston who studied psychology at Tufts, had a successful marketing career at companies like Unilever and Mars before creating Second Servings of Houston in 2014. The nonprofit picks up food from 150 food donors that otherwise would be destined for landfill.

“We expect food needs to increase at our 30 recipient sites, as hurricane victims get resettled,” she said. 

The organization’s immediate challenge is to keep up with demand, even though many of its usual volunteers have suffered flooding or are busy helping family and friends who did. And to meet the growing need for its services, Bronstein is raising capital to cover the cost of transportation, drivers, and supplies. Unfortunately, she knows only too well that hunger will continue in Houston long after the hurricane headlines have faded and the emergency relief efforts have ended.

To support the work of Second Servings, donate at Paypal Giving Fund, which is waiving the customary service fees during the Hurricane Relief period, or send a check to: Second Servings of Houston, 3104 Edloe St., Suite 350, Houston, TX 77027.

Heather Stephenson can be reached at


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