An exclusive newsletter for our Hunger Heroes
What’s INSIDE You’re Giving Adults with Diabetes a Healthier Life You Made 2017 Our Best Year Yet Teacher and Food Bank Donor Sees BackPacks Change Lives
You Made 2017 Our Best Year Yet You’re Giving Adults with Diabetes a Healthier Life Charlotte, 50, lives in Waco and was diagnosed with diabetes years ago. She takes part in a pilot program for diabetics that the Central Texas Food Bank is doing in partnership with Baylor Scott & White Health. The program was launched this past year to provide specially tailored food boxes to people with or at risk of developing diabetes. There are educational classes offered to those who receive the boxes of food. Charlotte attended these classes at Caritas of Waco, a Food Bank Partner Agency. “The classes are very informative and the presentations are very concise. The complications due to diabetes are frightening, and you forget about those without reminders like this,” Charlotte said about the classes. She has been empowered by the instructors to pay more attention to food labels so she knows exactly what she’s eating. Charlotte raves about the food and recipes she receives in the diet-appropriate boxes, “Fresh produce and vegetables are expensive,
so if you’re on a fixed income it’s a big help! Sometimes it is things you wouldn’t normally buy, so it gives you the opportunity to try something you haven’t before.” The boxes come with shelf-stable items, too. Charlotte learned that these items, such as long grain brown rice, are better for her diet than similar foods she was eating before, like white rice.
Fresh produce and vegetables are expensive so if you’re on a fixed income, it’s a big help. Best of all, the classes, coupled with the food she receives, have encouraged Charlotte to share meals and lessons with her mother who is 78 and also lives in Waco. “We take care of each other, she is my best friend in the whole wide world.”
This past year, the Central Texas Food Bank distributed an unprecedented 45 million pounds of food. That’s 7 million more pounds than last year! How did we do it? A full year in our new facility made a big difference. Without any constraints to our dry and cold storage, we were able to effectively scale up our receiving and distribution efforts. While the facility has been essential to scaling up our distribution, this growth has also allowed us to explore new opportunities, expand our existing programs and work with the community to reach our neighbors in need in new and innovative ways. Here are some of the ways the Food Bank has grown in the last year: We got our production kitchen up and running. Chef Kim and her team began producing “value added” meals. These meals use fresh ingredients (often times rescued food) to prepare tasty entrees and sides that we package on site. Our Partner Agencies can request these kitchenprepared items as part of their food order from
us. These meals are convenient for clients and help us better utilize donated food and cut down on waste.
McLennan Counties in 2017. The amount of produce we provided in our 21 county service territory grew by 24% in 2017.
This was the first year for the Food Bank to produce all the meals for children’s programs in-house. Chef Kim and her team, along with input from our Registered Dietitian, designed a menu of nutritious hot meals that the children enjoyed. We distributed nearly 73,000 free summer lunches to children throughout Austin and more than 150,000 free afterschool meals to children throughout Central Texas
This year, the Food Bank purchased our third dedicated Mobile Food Pantry truck, increasing our capacity to bring fresh and frozen foods directly to towns and neighborhoods where additional food assistance is needed. In 2017 the new truck allowed us to quickly grow from 40 to 45 monthly Mobile Food Pantry distributions, with an additional 15 distribution locations planned for 2018.
In 2016, the Food Bank launched its first “Produce Hub” – a converted, refrigerated shipping container placed in the parking lot at Caritas of Waco and used to receive, store and distribute additional fresh produce to partners in the McLennan County region. In 2017, we were able to establish our second produce hub in Temple. Together these two produce containers have helped us distribute over 4.4 million pounds of fresh produce to Bell and
Our on-site teaching and production garden enjoyed a remarkable first year. Led by our staff gardener, Greg, the Food Bank planted and harvested about 4,000 pounds of fresh produce that we put to good use in our kitchen or distributed via one of our programs. None of this growth would be possible without the support of Hunger Heroes like you. We can’t wait to see what we achieve together in 2018.
FIGHT HUNGER WITH AMPLIFY AUSTIN
There are thousands of Austin families facing hunger and we won’t rest until we’ve fed them all. The Austin community’s annual day of giving, Amplify Austin, helps put healthy food on the table for thousands of Central Texas families in need. This year, we’ll have 24 hours to crank up the giving – from 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, 2018, to 6 p.m. on Friday, March 2. Preschedule your donation starting January 16 at amplifyatx.org/FoodBank, and keep an eye out for information about doubling your gift during one of our Power Hour matching challenges. Thank you for keeping our community nourished!
Dear Friend, In this issue of Hunger Heroes we’re sharing one of the most exciting ways for our amazing family of supporters to make a real impact on the community. The annual Amplify Austin event is an effective opportunity for you to help feed your struggling neighbors. It’s a perfect tool to help spread the word about the important work being done throughout our city. There will be over 600 organizations participating in Amplify Austin this year, and many of them are non-profits that we partner with every day to get nutritious food into the hands of people who need it. Perhaps the most exciting component of Amplify Austin is that your investment will be magnified by all of the incredible sponsors who contribute matching gifts. It’s hard to turn down an opportunity to transform your generous $50 donation into a gift of $100. This year, our goal is to raise enough to provide fresh produce for 4,500 families of four for a month. There are thousands of Austin families facing hunger and we won’t rest until we’ve fed them all. We know we’ve set a big goal, and we can only do it with your help. Amplify Austin exemplifies the very best part of being a member of this community. Having a full day each year to celebrate and support non-profits is incredible, and compassionate people just like you make it a reality. There are many ways you can be a part of helping the Food Bank this year, but Amplify Austin is certainly going to be one of the most fun.
Mark Jackson Chief Development Officer
TEACHER AND FOOD BANK DONOR SEES BACKPACKS CHANGE LIVES As a teacher, Paige Cox has seen how hunger can affect a child’s life. She also knows the difference a single meal can make – or a BackPack full of meals, for that matter. Years ago, while working in a high-poverty school in Dallas, Paige worked with many students who didn’t have enough food on a daily basis. When it came to one particular child, Paige remembered: “Every time you turned around, he was stealing food from somebody. You’re thinking, ‘Okay, he’s just being naughty.’ But when you start realizing what he’s doing, it’s just that he had no food when he went home.” “It tore me up. It just broke my heart because there wasn’t a whole lot I could do. I would have snacks for him in the classroom, but it wasn’t stopping him from taking other kids’ food. It wasn’t keeping him from taking his [school breakfast] and putting it in his backpack… He knew when he got home there wouldn’t be food.” When the local Food Bank started a BackPack program at Paige’s school, it made a world of difference to the children. “My kids that were the most food insecure had a backpack full of food that they went home with every Friday afternoon, so they had food for the weekend. This BackPack program came in and it was just life changing.” Paige and her husband Scott became involved with that local Food Bank, “because it impacted my students. It meant something to me,” Paige said. When they moved to Austin about eight years ago, Paige and Scott knew there would be a Food Bank in their new community – and that’s how they found the Central Texas Food Bank. “Immediately,” Paige said, “that’s where we decided to focus our donations, because I know what it does. For my students, it’s life-changing that they just don’t have that food insecurity anymore.” Last year, the Central Texas Food Bank’s BackPack Program provided more than 202,000 nutritious weekend meals for children in low-income families. This impact would not be possible without caring supporters like Paige and Scott – and like you. Thank you for making a difference in so many lives.
Our Mission: To nourish hungry people and lead the community in the fight against hunger. A member of 6500 Metropolis Dr., Austin, TX 78744 | 512.282.2111 | centraltexasfoodbank.org