Feedback - Summer 2019

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News from the Central Texas Food Bank

Summer 2019

What’s INSIDE You’re bringing hope to families like Evita’s Fueling healthy kids through Power Packs Thank you for helping children thrive


You’re Bringing Hope to Families Like Evita’s Evita can’t wait to get back to work. She’s always had an industrious spirit — especially when her two teenage daughters, Angel and Isabel, were young. Evita raised them on her own and remembers what a challenge it was to keep them fed. “I would work all the time and I never had enough money to go grocery shopping,” she recalls. Her family’s situation has improved greatly since those days. In fact, after Evita was married a couple of years ago, she began studying kinesiology at Austin Community College so she could start a new career that would provide the best possible life for her girls.

But then she became pregnant with her 1-year-old, little Evita, and experienced many complications — her doctor ordered bed rest, and Evita had to put work and school on hold. Her little girl was born two months premature and has required special attention and costly medication to support her health.

I’m not gonna lie — there’s many times that we don’t have anything to eat.

Why Advocating for Child Nutrition Programs is Vital

Until little Evita is old enough to go to school, the family will rely on her dad’s income from his maintenance job. They do their best to make his paychecks stretch. In fact, the family relocated to a more affordable area to save money.

JC Dwyer, Chief Strategy Officer, Feeding Texas

Our work to end hunger in Texas should always consider the role of public policy — the collective decisions we make about our community’s resources and values. Although these decisions are often hidden in plain view, they are critically important to shaping the terrain on which we work to feed every struggling Texan.

But Evita admits there are times when a trip to the supermarket just isn’t in the budget. Isabel and Angel are able to eat free breakfasts and lunches at school, but during the summer their parents struggle to afford enough nutritious food to replace those meals.

At Texas food banks, summer is our annual reminder of how much public policy impacts our work. During the school year, most low-income Texas children are able to access free and low-cost meals through the USDA’s school breakfast and lunch programs. These programs aren’t perfect, but they are broadly successful at curbing hunger during the school day for most needy children.

“It hasn’t been as tough as it used to be,” Evita says of her family’s financial situation. “But — I’m not gonna lie — there’s many times that we don’t have anything to eat.” Her children’s health and wellbeing is critically important to Evita. She and Angel exercise together almost every day, and she says they

“Thank you. You’re really making a difference.” — Evita

love to run, ride bikes and walk around downtown as a family. Evita and her husband know good, nutrientrich food is vital to their children’s development, concentration and attitude. But healthy foods tend to be among the most expensive — sometimes they can only afford canned beans. One day, Evita stopped by the Southeast Health and Wellness Center in Austin’s Montopolis neighborhood to pick up a prescription for her husband and learned they were serving lunch. The Center partners with the Central Texas Food Bank to provide balanced meals to children and families who face hunger during the summer months. Evita loved the community feeling of neighbors coming together to break bread — and was thrilled to find help providing balanced meals for her daughters. “There are a lot of parents who are struggling, and it’s nice to have a place where we can take our kids,” she says. Your donations offer a hand up to so many families like Evita’s. She’s looking forward to someday having an income again, earning her degree and eventually buying a home for little Evita to grow up in. In the meantime, she’s so grateful you choose to give. “Thank you,” Evita says to friends like you. “You’re really making a difference.”


School meal programs operate on a scale that charity can’t match. Because we have collectively decided to address the needs of hungry schoolchildren, your food bank donations can instead be used to create innovative responses to child hunger and fill gaps where school meals fall short. This kind of work is the “best fit” for private, charitable enterprises like ours. When school lets out for summer, families are forced to turn to charity to make ends meet. Targeted responses like the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) can help, but only where children reliably congregate, like summer school or camp. This summer meal gap is a prime example of why food banks advocate to strengthen public policies at the state and federal levels. Congress may be considering changes to school meals, SFSP and other lynchpins of child hunger relief later this year. One proposal put forward by the White House would dramatically limit the number of schools allowed to provide free lunch to all students. Our voices are critical to this debate. Protecting and strengthening federal nutrition programs isn’t just in the interest of today’s struggling families — it’s integral to our long-term mission. The right public policies allow food banks to do what they do best, innovating and reaching out to families who have yet to benefit from our collective commitment to end child hunger in Texas. Find resources that can help you lend your voice to the support of policies that help our Texas neighbors in need at 3


Local schools, community organizations and grocery partners H-E-B, Central Market and Randalls all came together to raise an incredible amount of food and funds during the month leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. Thanks to community fundraisers and donations made at grocery registers throughout Central Texas, this year’s campaign raised more than 2.8 million meals for our neighbors in need!

Amplify Austin

This year’s Amplify Austin day of giving was the Food Bank’s most successful yet! An incredible 1,150 donors contributed $317,603, setting a new record and meeting our goal of closing the 30 percent meal gap for three months. Thank you to everyone who donated, raised funds and spread the word!


CROP Hunger Walk

In February, hundreds of walkers gathered from a variety of local congregations at Camp Mabry in Austin to raise money for food, medical care, disaster relief and development locally and across the world. A portion of the funds raised benefited the Central Texas Food Bank.

Oyster Fest

Seafood lovers converged on Republic Square Park in downtown Austin in February to enjoy a variety of delectable oyster dishes at the 2019 Austin Oyster Festival. Through t-shirt and raffle sales, local oyster aficionados helped raise more than 15,000 meals for our neighbors in need!


Fueling Healthy Kids Through Power Packs Each Thursday, Tiana is able to pick up a box full of nutritious food and healthy recipes from her son, Justin’s school. Her family is one of about 120 participating in a new 18-week pilot program called Power Packs: Fueling Healthy Kids. Partly funded by Morgan Stanley through Feeding America, the program’s goal is to increase consumption of fresh produce and lean protein among kids and their parents. Introducing healthier eating habits to kids at a young age will help them become healthier adults.

Each week, families receive a meal kit with three recipes centered on a single vegetable. The recipes align with kids’ school lunch menu so they’re already familiar with the main vegetable and feel more encouraged to try it at home. To get started, families received a bag of the staples they’d be using throughout the program the first week, as well as cooking equipment like a cutting board and measuring spoons. When Tiana received her first Power Pack, it wasn’t what she was expecting.

“I was just like ‘wow this is amazing,’ Power Packs are currently available to low-income preschoolers at Metz, especially the first week because we Sanchez and Barbara Jordan Elementary. had gotten seasoning and carrots and chicken,” she says. Power Packs are a huge help for Tiana’s family right now. She recently had a baby boy and is on unpaid maternity leave. Her husband has a disability and receives Social Security, but it’s only enough to pay their rent. “I’m stressed, I’m very stressed,” Tiana says of their financial situation. With her next paycheck a couple of months away, she’d been worried about providing for their three sons, especially their oldest, who has type 1 diabetes and needs nourishing food. With the Power Packs, Tiana has been able to keep her family healthy. “My son was excited about the carrots because with the diabetes, that’s one thing he can eat non-stop,” she says. Your partnership is helping alleviate hunger today and ensuring that the next generation makes healthy food choices. Thank you for your support of programs like Power Packs! 6

UPCOMING EVENTS Summer Kitchen Volunteer Challenge Calling all summer volunteers! From late May to mid-August, the Food Bank has an extra-high need for volunteers, ages 15 and up, to serve in our commercial kitchen. Responsibilities include food preparation, meal packaging, and cleaning and sanitizing supplies used to create up to 4,000 summer meals and snacks every day for children and families in need. Visit to see our volunteer calendar and sign up! Austin Restaurant Weeks Mark your calendars for Austin Restaurant Weeks 2019, running from August 15 through September 2. Once again, Austin-area restaurants and bars will offer curated fixed-price menus and drink specials with a portion of sales benefiting the fight against hunger. Get more information and book your reservations at H-E-B Help End Hunger Summer brings a great need for food assistance in Central Texas. This May through June, Central Texas H-E-B and Central Market shoppers can donate at the checkout during the annual Help End Hunger campaign. Look for tear pads at your local H-E-B and Central Market to donate and help bring back the joys of summer! Even More Events Stay in the know about the latest opportunities to fight hunger at Central Texas Food Bank events! We list upcoming events on our website at, and you can find timely updates on Twitter and Instagram at @ctxfoodbank as well as

“It’s nice to have somebody there for you.” — Hannah


Thank You for Helping Children Thrive “One paycheck can’t pay all the bills these days,” Hannah says, describing her budget since she had to leave her job. Her family is now relying solely on her husband’s income. Hannah, with her two younger children — Mason, 3, and Carlita, 1 — waited outside Shepherd’s Heart Waco, a member of the Central Texas Food Bank’s hunger-relief network near their home. It was their first time reaching out for help. Ha n n a h h a d re c e n t l y h a d surgery. Since her warehouse job is so physically demanding, she hasn’t been able to return to work yet. Her husband is a steel cutter, but without Hannah’s income, the family is struggling.

Affording food will be even more of a challenge when school lets out for summer vacation and the couple must cover the breakfasts and lunches their 5-year-old typically eats in the cafeteria for free. Hannah knew she needed help — and soon. Her grandmother, Brenda, learned about Shepherd’s Heart and told Hannah how helpful the food pantry had been for her. She offered to accompany her on her first visit. It’s never easy to ask for assistance. But when caring parents like Hannah don’t have the means to fill their tables, it’s a tremendous relief to know people like you are in their corner.

“Everybody has their down times, and it’s nice to have somebody there for you,” Hannah says of your generosity. “Every little bit helps!” You can help so many more families like Hannah’s access the food they need to thrive through our exciting Summer Meals That Matter $150,000 match campaign, made possible by the Gates and Stumberg families! Will you join us with a generous gift to DOUBLE today? Years from now, Hannah’s children will have happy summer memories of fishing and playing in the park — rather than long days at home with an empty pantry. Thank you for bringing back the joys of summer here in Central Texas! 7


Joyce Mullen Dell, Inc.

Stephen Portner, Vice Chair

Hon. Jeff Rose Texas Third Court of Appeals

Sheldy Starkes, MBA, PMP, Secretary Texas Department of Information Resources Kevin J. Koch, Treasurer McLane Company, Inc.

John Sanchez Clint Scott CLS Partners Alice Starr

Ann Benolken Ascension Seton

Leslie Sweet HEB Grocery Company, LP

Shaun Cranston Halff Associates, Inc.

Anneliese Tanner Austin Independent School District

Hari Jayaram Applied Materials Timothy M. Lee Treat Health Corporation Pat Massey IBM Corporation

MESSAGE from the PRESIDENT & CEO Dear Friends, For the past few weeks, students across our communities have been filled with excitement about the upcoming summer break. Many boys and girls are looking forward to playing tag at the park, running through sprinklers and reading in the sunshine. Summertime brings great joy — but also great worry. Free and reducedprice school meals end when classes do. That means countless children will no longer have two daily meals to depend on.

Mark J. Williams

Parents who are already struggling to afford food will soon have the added cost of 10 meals per child each week. Summer is the hungriest season for families with low incomes.

Shayne Woodard Waterloo Lobby & Advocacy, Inc.

But it doesn’t have to be. Your gifts help ensure that kids can enjoy the long break from school with access to healthy food.

Scott Weatherford Jackson Walker LLP

FEEDBACK? Questions, comments or change of address? Email: Read it online Download and subscribe to Food Bank publications at

And until August 31, every $1 you give will DOUBLE to fight summer hunger! The Gates and Stumberg families have graciously offered to match all gifts to the Central Texas Food Bank’s Summer Meals That Matter campaign — up to $150,000 — to help meet the increased needs during the summer. Your continued support will help stock food pantry shelves, share fresh produce through our Mobile Pantry program and send healthy food to summer meal sites — like Southeast Health and Wellness Center, where Evita can bring her three growing daughters for a balanced lunch each weekday. You can learn about how you’re helping their family on page 2. I hope you’ll take the time to hear from your grateful neighbors in this special summer issue of Feedback. You share hope with people across Central Texas – and they’re giving thanks for you!

THANK YOU SPONSORS! Derrick Chubbs President & CEO


Our mission: To nourish hungry people and lead the community in the fight against hunger. 6500 Metropolis Dr., Austin, TX 78744 | 512.282.2111 /CentralTexasFoodBank

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