Sustainers Circle - Fall 2021

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An exclusive newsletter for our Sustainers Circle

What’s INSIDE Partner Spotlight Fall Home Gardening Tip Home Delivery Program

Fall 2021

Partner Spotlight: The Caring Place

In the last fiscal year, the Central Texas Food Bank distributed a record-breaking 64.5 million pounds of food. More than 75% of that food was distributed through our network of more than 250 partner agencies—the local pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens we work with. One of our longstanding partner agencies is The Caring Place in Georgetown. The Central Texas Food Bank and The Caring Place have been in partnership for the last 34 years. Not only does The Caring Place distribute food from the Food Bank, they provide many other services to meet the basic needs of the community.

Tim, Client The Caring Place

The Caring Place was founded in 1985 under the umbrella of the Georgetown Ministerial Alliance after the local churches were overwhelmed by requests for assistance. They wanted one central


location where community members could turn for help to have their basic needs met. As The Caring Place’s Executive Director, Ginna O’Connor, says: “We started with $17, three bags of clothes, and a handful of volunteers. We now have three buildings, two thrift stores, we give out over a million pounds of food a year, and we’re still providing for basic needs. Our mission is to provide for the basic human needs of all people in our community in a welcoming, respectful, and caring way.” Due to this growth, the nonprofit needs to expand. A remodel is underway to nearly double the size of The Caring Place’s food pantry and warehouse to serve even more of our neighbors in need. That work is made possible in part through a grant from the Central Texas Food Bank, further strengthening the partnership between the two organizations. Georgetown continues to grow quickly. The U.S. Census Bureau often ranks Georgetown as one of the fastestgrowing cities in the country. The greater Georgetown area served by The Caring Place is diverse and also includes the surrounding rural areas in northern Williamson County. Their clients have many different circumstances: some are working and trying to make ends meet, others have been impacted by the pandemic, and some are experiencing homelessness. About 25% of The Caring Place’s clients are 55

years or older and about 40% are children. Some clients, like Tim, have had a medical crisis. Tim visited The Caring Place looking for help to meet his immediate basic needs. Tim expresses gratitude as he says: “Every aspect of my life has been touched by The Caring Place…at The Caring Place, they are dealing with human beings. They treat you like a human being.”

“I believe everybody should have their basic needs met so they can live their best life.” In addition to their food pantry, The Caring Place’s services include financial assistance with rent, mortgage payments, and utilities, emergency hotel stays, lowinterest loans, and help with prescriptions, medical needs, and transportation. Some clients also receive vouchers for clothing and household goods from one of the Caring Place’s thrift stores. In the past, the thrift stores provided more than 60% of their annual operating revenue, but since the pandemic began this has dropped to just 20% as revenue from the thrift stores has declined. But generous donors

and grants have filled in the gaps. And O’Connor says that the partnership with the Central Texas Food Bank is part of their success. Throughout the pandemic, all of the food for the food pantry came from the Central Texas Food Bank. Not only does their food pantry provide the community with healthy, nutritious food, it also frees up funds for families who may be working paycheck-to-paycheck to be able to cover their other bills and expenses.


Ginna O’Connor has now worked at The Caring Place for more than eight years, and cites the mission for keeping her engaged: “I believe everybody should have their basic needs met so they can live their best life... This is an incredible model. The best possible scenario is that the community develops their own solutions to their specific community needs. And that’s what The Caring Place is. And it’s an honor and privilege to be here to help people and be part of this incredible organization.”


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INGREDIENTS 2 ¼ cups of farina hot wheat cereal (such as Cream of Wheat)

Ginna O’Connor, Executive Director, The Caring Place

Fall Home Gardening Tip

¼ cup Splenda® Brown Sugar Blend (or ½ cup brown sugar) 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

from our Garden Manager, Greg Mast

½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 large eggs 1 cup skim milk ¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt 2 carrots grated (about 1 cup) ½ cup raisins ½ cup chopped walnuts PREPARATION

As temperatures drop and days get shorter, the Central Texas Food Bank garden is ramping up for fall. In your garden, fall is a great time to plant root vegetables like radishes, beets, carrots and turnips, as well as leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard and kale. As much as I love these garden standbys, one of my favorite plants to grow is the artichoke. Artichokes are perennial plants that grow steadily through the fall and winter, then send up magnificent flower stalks in the spring. Fall is a great time to plant artichoke plants. They are available at most garden centers and grow into gorgeous plants about 3 feet tall and wide, so give them plenty of space. An added benefit of artichokes is that they act as a trap crop for one of our most annoying garden pests, the leaf footed bug. Adult and juvenile leaf footed bugs congregate on the immature artichoke flowers, making them easy targets for squishing between your hands or a targeted squirt of neem oil insecticide.


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 12-cup standard muffin tin, or use paper liners. 2. Combine cream of wheat, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl. 3. Stir in eggs, milk and yogurt until moistened. 4. Fold in carrots, raisins and walnuts. 5. Evenly spoon batter into muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes or until fully cooked. Find more recipes online at

Dear Sustainer, I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to you, one of our most loyal donors. The last year and a half have been truly unprecedented, and we continue to see elevated numbers of clients seeking support each and every day. And when other emergencies strike, like the February winter storm and then Hurricane Ida, we are able to provide emergency supplies to the people who need it most because of your generous support. Every day, your donations set off an impressive chain of events. It starts with the Food Bank sourcing the food on a large scale, and then truck drivers delivering the food all over our 21-county service area. Eventually, the food becomes meals on the tables of our neighbors in need. There is so much that goes into every step, and your donations make it all possible. One essential step is the distribution of the food to our community. More than 75% of the food from the Food Bank is distributed through our partner agencies—the local pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens we work with. In this issue, we are highlighting one of those special partnerships: our relationship with The Caring Place in Georgetown. Through our partnerships and programs, we are always working to fill the hunger gap. One exciting new way we are doing that is through a home delivery pilot, allowing us to reach even more community members who need help. It’s amazing to see these new programs take shape and see more and more of our community members fed. We could not rise to this challenge without you.

Mark Jackson Chief Development Officer

Home Delivery Program At the Central Texas Food Bank, we are always working to close the hunger gap. For some of our community members, accessing healthy food is difficult due to mobility and transportation challenges. Your loyal support is making it possible for the Food Bank to pilot a monthly home delivery service to reach even more members of our community. A new phase of the pilot program recently opened up to serve people with a disability, veterans, and active duty military members. We are continuing to serve families with children and people age 60 and older who are in need of food and have barriers to access. The pilot program is in partnership with the Austin Public Health Neighborhood Services Unit and Amazon. Participants receive a monthly box of healthy, shelf-stable groceries delivered directly to their home by Amazon in a “contactless” method. Since the program’s inception, we have delivered more than 23,000 meals to more than 550 households, on our way to our goal of 1,800 households. The contents of the boxes vary and include items like oatmeal, pasta, corn flour, dried beans, canned protein, and canned fruits and vegetables. Because of your generosity, we have plans for this program to keep growing, keeping more of our community fed.

Our Mission: To nourish hungry people and lead the community in the fight against hunger. A member of 6500 Metropolis Dr., Austin, TX 78744 | 512.220.2680 |

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