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feedback Fall 2012

Serving those who have served us p2 • Standing up for our nation’s heroes p3 Thank you and upcoming events p4 & 5 • Helping our neighbors this holiday season p6 Making a ‘powerful’ difference p7 • Message from the President & CEO p8 Our mission: to nourish hungry people and lead the community in ending hunger.

Serving those who have served us A sudden cloudburst did not slow

the pace of the volunteers packing groceries into boxes, bags, baskets, and the occasional piece of luggage, at the mobile food pantry distribution at the Southwest Key Programs. The second Friday of the month, Southwest Key becomes a hub of activity as over 300 families from the surrounding community arrive to receive fresh produce, meat, canned goods, and sometimes dairy products, from the Capital Area Food Bank’s 40-foot truck that is the mobile food pantry. The groceries are genuinely appreciated by the Austinites who wait in line, sometimes for hours, to receive a box full of food.

Clients arrive rain or shine for the mobile food pantry distribution.

Andrea counts herself among those grateful for this service. Before moving to Austin, Andrea served our country as a Marine, along with her husband, a fellow serviceman, they lived in Germany for over seven years. Together, she and her husband travelled the world before deciding to settle in Austin to raise their two sons. After losing her husband in 2010, Andrea now balances medical treatment for her chronic health condition, and caring for family, including her mother, who lives in Austin, and her father-inlaw, who lives in Bastrop. When her father-in-law had to be evacuated last September due to the Bastrop fires, Andrea took him in, but worried that there would not be enough food for the both of them.

Andrea stretches the food she receives to last nearly a month.

The typical amount of food given to each client at the mobile pantries.

Andrea has been visiting the mobile food pantry distribution at Southwest Key for over five months. The food she receives helps her stretch the modest $50 in food stamp benefits she gets every month. “I was talking to a lady earlier, and she was only getting $12 per month, so I’m grateful for what I have,” said Andrea. With the support of the Capital Area Food Bank, Andrea manages to make it, month to month. She is hardly alone as a veteran in need of support. According to the 2010 Census, 1.5 million households with a veteran were receiving SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), the formerly known as food stamps. For the staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs, connecting veterans to community resources like food pantries is a part of their mission. “If we have veterans who are hungry, we need to feed them” said Aggie Drye, Director of Management Quality Assurance Service at the VA. “The VA motto is ‘to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan’” explained Drye, “and that’s what you do here.” Andrea looks forward to becoming more financially stable in the future, perhaps once her health improves. Until then, she offers thanks for support in her time of need. “Keep up the good work” said Andrea, “It means so much.”

You may not be able to buy everything you need for the holidays at, but when you do, up to 10% of sales benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Donate while you shop

Standing up for our nation’s heroes By Kathy Green, Senior Director, Advocacy and Public Policy

Proper nutrition, and the federal programs that support it, have long been a matter of national security. In 1946, President Harry Truman signed into law The National School Lunch Act. The legislation came in response to claims that many American men had been rejected for World War II military service because of diet-related health problems. The federally assisted meal program was established as “a measure of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children and to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities.” Fast-forward almost 70 years, and we still find federal nutrition programs taking care of our military and their families. Unfortunately, while these men and women endanger their lives in defense of our country, they often cannot meet the cost of living. Therefore, many of our military qualify for SNAP (food stamps), and their children qualify for free and reduced price lunch and breakfast at school. It is not uncommon for us to see uniformed soldiers waiting in line at one of our food pantries. Despite the political rhetoric, our federal nutrition programs are not just “handouts” to people who are too lazy to help themselves or their families. They are a bridge, almost always temporarily, from a period of difficulty to a period of stability. They help our children, our elderly, our disabled, and yes, our military. As advocates, we should remind our elected officials that food insecurity risks our national security—both across the globe and back home. A food secure country is a stronger country in terms of health, workforce, economy, and national defense. We have a duty to ensure all of our citizens—be they home or abroad—are well nourished.

For more on our events, follow us on Twitter: @events4good

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If you would like to host an event to benefit us, contact AJ Butterfield at abutterfield@

H-E-B Help End Hunger Campaign Raised $105,000


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A special thank you to everyone who made these events successful!

Feds Feed Families - Raised 5,266 pounds of food • Amherst Securities Group Fund Drive - Raised $2,085 • Cad Restaurant Round-up Week - Raised more than $2,900 • HomeAway - Raised $5,000 • The Home Depot - Raised Hunger Fund Drive - Raised $3,105 • Pepsi Refresh and Give Back Campaign - Raised $1,414 • TRC Environmen


join us

for these upcoming events: 5th Annual CANstruction Austin November 10 – 18 Barton Creek Square Mall For more information, visit CANstruction brings together architects, engineers, and builders to showcase their talents by building giant sculptures made entirely of nonperishable food. Make sure to stop by and check out these gravity-defying structures!

16th Annual Austin Empty Bowl Project

M Raised attress Firm 6,703 p ounds of food

et to g r o f t ’ Don er this e t n u l o v eason! s y a d i l ho

Visit .org odbank o f n ti s au y! up toda n g i s o t

November 17 & 18 Marchesa Hall and Theatre For more information, visit Austin Empty Bowl Project provides local potters, musicians and restaurants the opportunity to help hungry Central Texas children for more than a decade. Patrons can purchase a locally hand-crafted bowl filled with their pick of delicious soups and bread donated by local chefs.

Downtown Austin Alliance Holiday Singalong December 1 South Steps of the Capitol at Congress Avenue For more information, visit Join the holiday tradition! Patrons can sing Christmas carols with KUT’s John Aielli, enjoy live entertainment, shopping, and the tree lighting. Don’t forget to bring canned food items for the Food Bank.

Holiday Luminations December 8 & 9 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center For more information, visit Patrons can enjoy natural gardens lit with more than 3,000 luminarias and 5,000 twinkle lights, while listening to music of the season. Admission is free with two canned food items for the Capital Area Food Bank.

Stuff the Bus

l Festiva d Sauce o t o f o f H o le ds Chronic 5 poun Austin 24 and 15,92 $12,1 Raised

dence Design Systems - Raised $3,370 • GO TEXAN d $2,668 and 236 pounds of food • Macy’s Bag ntal Corporation - Raised $2,031.

December 14 - 16 Whole Foods Market, 525 N. Lamar Blvd. For more information, visit Join together with Whole Foods, CAFB, and Cap Metro as we Stuff the Bus! Patrons bring nonperishable food items and watch as a city bus fills with healthy food for our hungry Central Texas neighbors.

Trail of Lights December 16 – 23 Zilker Park For more information, visit The Austin Trail of Lights makes a triumphant return with a philanthropic twist. CAFB is one of the 24 nonprofits benefitting from this event. Enjoy Zilker Park lit up as it has never been before! For a complete list of upcoming events, visit

Helping our neighbors this holiday season For many families, the holiday season means coming together around a festive meal, bonding with family and friends, and reflecting on the many gifts in life we are grateful for. But for many of our clients, the holiday season is a time when they ask for help to just get by.

Families like Jessica & Jesse’s are grateful for the assistance they receive from the Capital Area Food Bank and our partner agencies. High school sweethearts, Jessica and Jesse have been married for over 23 years and make their home in Marble Falls. Jesse has to travel 30 miles to get to his job at a golf course, so gas is a huge part of their monthly budget. Jessica says, “It just doesn’t seem like his paycheck gets us very far.” Jessica and Jesse are trying the best they can to provide for their three children, Miranda (14), Mariah (12), and Gabriel (7). When there isn’t enough money at the end of the month, Jessica knows she can turn to the Helping Center of Marble Falls. “We’re making it, thanks to this place.” Jessica says. “We are so grateful. I’d hate to think about what it would be like without this place. I’m just so grateful.” This holiday season we’re grateful for generous supporters like you, who make it possible for us to help provide holiday meals in addition to nourishing families in our community year-round. As you take turns saying what you are thankful for around your Thanksgiving table, remember Jessica who is so thankful that she was able to receive the help she needed to keep her family healthy. She says, “Thank you. If it wasn’t for you, we’d be having a hard time. Your generosity makes it possible. It means my kids get a healthy meal.” You can turn hungry holidays into happy holidays by making a donation to the Capital Area Food Bank today. Your gift of $10 provides 25 meals to hungry Central Texans this holiday season. Visit for more information.

are so grateful. “ We I’d hate to think about what it would be like without this place. I’m just so grateful.

- Jessica, Marble Falls, Texas

Our mission: to nourish hungry people and lead the community in ending hunger.

CAFB Board of Directors Matt Dow, Chairperson, Jackson Walker, L.L.P. Mark Downing, Vice Chairperson, Silicon Laboratories Melissa Mitchell, Treasurer, Ernst & Young Vanessa Downey-Little, Secretary, City of Austin, Retired Michael J. Tomsu, Immediate Past Chairperson, Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. Melissa Anthony Sinn, anthonyBarnum Public Relations Heidi Baschnagel, National Instruments John Cyrier, Sabre Commercial, Inc. Mohamed el-Hamdi, Ph.D., Samsung Austin Semiconductor L.L.C. Ken Gladish, Ph.D., Seton Foundations Terry G. Knighton, Applied Materials Joyce Mullen, Dell Sue Snyder, University of Texas at Austin Sheldy Starkes, MBA, PMP, Booker, Starkes, & Patodia, Inc.

message from the President & CEO

How poor does one have to be to obtain emergency food assistance? I get asked that question all the time here at the food bank. Another comment I hear often is “if someone has a flat screen TV or an iPhone, they can’t be poor. If they can afford those ‘luxury’ items surely they don’t need help? Surely they can’t be hungry?” This line of thinking underscores a fundamental misunderstanding about who the hungry are and how they find themselves with a bare pantry and refrigerator. I’ve learned many of our clients will dip in and out of hunger and poverty, often related to their employment status. Many will burn through whatever savings they had before asking for help. And if recent data is to be believed, their ranks are swollen with more seniors, children and the middle class, many for the first time. The face of hunger may not be who you think it is.

Leslie Sweet, H-E-B Catherine P. Thompson, Motion Computing Jason Thurman, PlainsCapital Bank

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I don’t judge our clients. I have no way of determining their circumstances or why they need help putting food on their tables. If they have an iPhone I’m more inclined to say “what is your favorite app?” But I don’t know if theirs was a gift, they saved ten dollars per month for two years to buy it, or it’s even a hand-me-down. I don’t make any assumptions because if you’re standing in a food line, sometimes for several hours, you likely need help. If you qualify for government nutrition assistance programs, then you qualify, and need help, not permanently, but a helping hand to catch you and help you back up. Thanks to all of you, we were able to provide that helping hand for many hungry friends and neighbors this year. It is human nature to judge, but starting this holiday season, let’s hope more people do not fall into the trap and make poor judgments.

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Capital Area Food Bank of Texas | Feedback | Fall 2012