Feedback - Fall 2021

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News from the Central Texas Food Bank

Fall 2021

What’s INSIDE Neighbors Helping Neighbors Free Food Delivered to Community Members’ Front Doors! You’re Making Food Available to Families Like Cynthia’s

THANK YOU FOR GETTING NEIGHBORS BACK ON THEIR FEET!


Neighbors Helping Neighbors Jean’s household consists of her fiancé, daughter, son and several extended family members. Jean’s parents are both diabetic, and she regularly takes care of her elderly grandmother who’s 80 — none of them could take a chance on catching COVID. “I have a couple friends that died at work from the COVID,” Jean says. “So it’s just hard...I’m at high risk myself.” When the pandemic first struck, her fiancé’s employer reduced his hours drastically. Eventually, they let him go. He was out of work for months. Jean fell behind on bills while doing her best to support her family. “They wanted to get my car from me because I just haven’t been able to pay it off, you know? It’s just, I’m months behind. I’ve paid some, I just can’t pay everything,” she explains. The pandemic was hard on her retired parents too, who are in poor health and don’t have enough money to keep up with their medical expenses. Jean was relieved to have the mass distribution at the Travis County Expo Center as a resource for healthy food. Not only does she now come for nutritious ingredients for family meals when she has to, she brings her daughter, 10-year-old Isabel, and takes some food to neighbors and community centers.

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“It means a lot. I love helping family members, friends out...I even take some to the homeless.” Jean’s daughter Isabel loves eating healthy food. Her favorites are broccoli, kiwi and grapes. Fresh produce gives her energy to do what she loves.

“I love helping family members, friends out... I even take some to the homeless.” —Jean

“I like riding my bike with my friends!” she says with a smile. By helping provide fresh food for families in need, you, our committed donors, give Isabel the fuel she needs to happily ride bikes with her friends. Because of your partnership, neighbors like Jean receive the food their loved ones need to survive.


When you support the Central Texas Food Bank and our 300 Partner Agencies and programs, you share free food and nutrition education with families in need, connect people to life-enhancing resources and strengthen community services. Together, we’re paving the way to recovery despite COVID-19’s long-lasting effects on Central Texas. Healing begins once neighbors can start thriving – not surviving. This time of year is even more critical for children as they return to school — access to nutritious food helps kids focus in class, stay healthy and grow to their full potential. Thank you so much for supporing our community’s children and their families this fall!

Improving Food Access for Vulnerable Texans in the 87th Legislature The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light significant barriers to accessing healthy food for some of Central Texas’ most vulnerable residents. Many of our neighbors find themselves without the ability to access Food Bank resources on a regular basis and rely on other support systems to supplement their diet. Homebound seniors and disabled Texans are certainly among those who can benefit from special home delivery programs operated by the Food Bank, but we know we can’t meet the full need on our own. Federal programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) also play a big role in providing access to healthy, nutritious food for those populations. Leading up to the 87th Texas legislative session, the Food Bank worked with our counterparts across the state to educate lawmakers about the need to make SNAP more accessible for seniors. Seniors in Texas have historically low participation in SNAP due to several factors: difficulties navigating the application process, limited mobility and lack of access to technology. As a result, the food bank network prioritized supporting legislation that would make the SNAP application process simpler for seniors and others living on a fixed income. On June 16, 2021, Governor Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 224. This legislation represents a significant victory for low-income seniors and disabled Texans by implementing a simplified SNAP application process for those with no earned income, and extending the time required for recertification of benefits from one to three years. In addition, the bill leverages data matching capabilities with Medicaid recipients to help identify seniors who are eligible but not enrolled in SNAP.

“I’m months behind. I’ve paid some, I just can’t pay everything,”

Senate Bill 224 received strong bi-partisan support from both chambers of the legislature, and the Central Texas Food Bank was proud to advocate for its adoption on behalf of our neighbors in need.

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YOU’RE BRINGING HOPE TO YOUR CENTRAL TEXAS NEIGHBORS! Quesoff

On May 29th, we welcomed back Quesoff — Austin’s favorite annual queso cookoff! Queso-lovers gathered at the Mohawk to enjoy dishes from local restaurants. This year looked a little different, but it was better than ever. Thank you to all restaurant participants and event goers. Also, a special congrats to Olamaie Austin for winning the Champions League. Quesoff 2021 created more than 30,000 meals for Central Texans!

Austin Restaurant Weeks

H-E-B Help End Hunger

Central Texas H-E-B and Central Market stores are collecting monetary donations at the register from August 18th through October 26th. This is one of the biggest grocery campaigns benefiting the Food Bank, so be sure to thank your cashier for participating in this fundraiser — and please donate if you can!

Austin Restaurant Weeks is back for 2021! Presented by Tito’s® Handmade Vodka, this dining event will run in the Austin area from October 1-10. Participating establishments will offer special menus and drinks with a portion of sales donated to the Food Bank. Hundreds of restaurants and bars have participated in ARW since 2018, raising nearly 1.5 million meals for Central Texans facing hunger. Make your reservations today at austinrestaurantweeks.org.

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IT’S HUNGER ACTION MONTH

Free Food Delivered to Community Members’ Front Doors! This summer, the Central Texas Food Bank has piloted a partnership with Amazon and the Austin Public Health Neighborhood Services Unit to launch a program that delivers food right to the front doors of our neighbors in need. Eligible households receive a box of groceries delivered to their home once a month to ensure they have the food they need to thrive — all free of charge! “One in seven Central Texans face food insecurity. Unfortunately, many of our neighbors in need simply aren’t able to get out to our food distribution sites,” said Derrick Chubbs, president and CEO of the Central Texas Food Bank. “That’s why we’re so excited to partner with Austin Public Health Neighborhood Services Unit and Amazon on this home delivery program. This is another great example of how we can work together as a community to fight hunger.”

distributions. These can include lack of transportation, conflicting work schedules, and health conditions, among other challenges. Offering home delivery increases the accessibility of food assistance and serves more community members in need. During the first six weeks of the program, 8,525 meals were delivered to enrolled households. “These past 15 months have been really hard for everyone... This is another way [people] can ensure they’re going to have food on the table,” says Monique Flukers, Program Manager for the RosewoodZaragosa Neighborhood Center. She adds, “The Amazon drivers are excited to join this cause knowing it will be helping others in the community.”

The Food Bank is looking forward to continuing to make sure our communities have access to healthy There are many barriers a food. Thank you for providing critical household may face that prevent support to connect those most in t h e m f r o m a t t e n d i n g f o o d need with nutritious groceries. 6

September is Hunger Action Month. There are so many ways you can stand against hunger this month. Sharing, volunteering, pledging to advocate, donating and fundraising are just a few ideas for taking action. If you’re looking to help raise more meals this month, consider hosting a Virtual Food Drive! Why should I do a Virtual Food Drive? You’re helping more people. The Food Bank uses your dollars to provide far more meals than you can buy at the store – about four times as many meals! You’re keeping you, our Food Bank staff and your supporters safe. You don’t have to buy store collected food or transport heavy boxes to us. Your meals will be raised virtually on a customizable online fundraising page Your dollars are flexible. Every day the Food Bank is responding to the pandemic’s effects on our clients. The Food Bank will continue to put the funds you raise toward the areas of greatest need. Creating your Virtual Food Drive is easy. To start today, visit centraltexasfoodbank.org/vfd21.


You’re Making Food Available to Families Like Cynthia’s Cynthia is a new mother to 1-year-old Alaina. She’s noticed her daughter singing along to songs on the TV and imagines maybe Alaina will be a singer when she grows up. But for now, Cynthia just hopes her daughter will finish high school. Cynthia wants to go back to school herself to become a nurse one day. She was working at the hospital as a Certified Nurse Assistant, but recently became pregnant with her second child — she could no longer keep up with the hospital’s long hours and overwhelming number of patients. Now, Cynthia works at a fast food restaurant and she’s feeling a bit nervous about what the future holds. “It’s just that two kids, you know, is going to be hard... There’s a lot of

stuff I don’t know how to do. Like cook. Or if she gets sick, I panic.”

“I would like to say thank you ...” —Cynthia

Cynthia discovered Southeast Health and Wellness Center, a partner pantry of the Central Texas Food Bank, while coming in for a prenatal checkup. There, she discovered that, in addition to providing healthy food for clients, there are also classes that teach the importance of a nutritious diet — they even double as cooking classes.

Now, with a source of fresh, nutritious foods and knowledge about how to cook them, Cynthia’s looking forward to a brighter future. “It’s so nice of y’all,” Cynthia says. “Thank you for providing food for us and for doing something kind for the world.” You help neighbors like Cynthia form healthy habits for life. Can we count on you to continue making nutritious food accessible for the families hit hardest by the pandemic by making another gift today? Thank you for your generous partnership. We are so grateful for everything you do.

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BOARD OF OF DIRECTORS BOARD DIRECTORS Stephen Portner, Chair Alice Starr, Vice Chair Timothy M. Lee, Treasurer Shaun Cranston, Secretary Halff Associates, Inc. Jen Alessandra Frontdoor

Pete Inman Camino Real Financial Strategies Hari Jayaram Applied Materials Pat Massey IBM Corporation

Ann Benolken

Laura Mendoza Motiva

Estrellita J. Doolin, JD, MBA Ascension Health

Frank Reid Austin Community College

Kathleen W. Farlow Deloitte LLP

John Sanchez Capital One Bank

Kelli Green St. Edward’s University

Anneliese Tanner

Jeff Hahn Hahn Public

Scott Weatherford Jackson Walker LLP Mark J. Williams

Monica Hernandez H-E-B

Shayne Woodard Waterloo Lobby & Advocacy, Inc.

FEEDBACK?

Questions, comments or change of address? Email: communications@centraltexasfoodbank.org Read it online Download and subscribe to Food Bank publications at centraltexasfoodbank.org Make an immediate impact by giving online 1. Open your camera or a QR Scanner on your iPhone or Android device. 2. Hold your phone camera over the QR Code. 3. Wait for a web page link to pop up. 4. Click and make your donation on CTFB’s website!

MESSAGE from the PRESIDENT & CEO Dear Friends, September is Hunger Action Month in the U.S. — a special time of year to showcase the effects of hunger by engaging and educating the public. Part of our mission at the Central Texas Food Bank is to advocate for our neighbors experiencing hunger while providing relief in the form of healthy food. But the past year and a half has been devastating to our community. As we begin healing, so many of our neighbors are worse off than they were before the pandemic and face countless hardships that prevent them from accessing healthy, beneficial meals. Everyone requires nutritious food to function well and achieve success. The full recovery of Central Texas depends on the health and strength of our community members. That’s why I’m so grateful for all of your help, especially in this past year. Your kindness allows the Food Bank to serve healthy food across 21 Central Texas counties to even more neighbors who would otherwise go hungry. In this issue of Feedback are stories from just a few folks who directly benefit from your support. Please take the time to hear from just a few of the people we proudly serve — like Jean on page 2 or Cynthia on page 7. See what a huge difference you have made in their lives and read in their own words just how grateful they are. Thank you for taking the time to catch up with the Food Bank and find out how you’re helping Central Texas heal after such a difficult time. We are so pleased to partner with you to fight hunger in our community.

Derrick Chubbs President & CEO

HUNGER ACTION MONTH 2021 PRESENTED BY:

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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