Sustainers Circle - Winter 2021

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An exclusive newsletter for our Sustainers Circle

What’s INSIDE The 411 on Volunteering Food for Thought Winter Home Gardening Tip 2020 Year in Review

Winter 2021

The 411 on Volunteering We understand—especially now—that it’s not safe for everyone to volunteer or that you may not be comfortable doing so. But if you are looking for more ways to get involved or curious about volunteering with us, read on.

Health and Safety Volunteering at the Food Bank is extremely safe. Health and safety are our top priorities! All volunteers must wear masks and practice social distancing. People who are feeling ill or who have possibly been exposed to COVID-19 may not volunteer. Social distancing and wearing a mask in public are also required for 14 days prior to any volunteer shift. There are additional health requirements that you will learn about during the registration process.

Volunteering in our Warehouse We can really use your help right now! Groups and families are welcome – children ages 8 and up can volunteer with a guardian. The warehouse is located at our headquarters in southeast Austin and shifts are available Monday-Saturday in the mornings and afternoons as well as Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. Your volunteer shift may include sorting donated food, helping pack boxes, and other activities. During this rewarding volunteer experience, you will get a behind-the-scenes look at how an important part of the Food Bank works.


In our warehouse, you can often find one of our most dedicated volunteers, Jim. He’s volunteered more than 2,823 hours since 2013. He’s now retired and serves as a volunteer leader, answering questions and training other volunteers. “I enjoy it,” Jim says. “I like the people I work with. The volunteers are always here and they’re excited to go.” The Central Texas Food Bank is extremely grateful to Jim and to all of our volunteers.

Volunteering at our Mobile Pantries Prefer to be outdoors? We also have great volunteering opportunities at our Mobile Food Pantries. Help is especially needed for the locations outside of Austin if you’re looking to incorporate a mini-road trip into your service or live nearby. At Mobile Pantries, you will help load boxes of food into the trunks of vehicles of people who have come for food assistance. It’s similar to socially-distanced curbside service at the grocery store. You may also help direct traffic and set up and break down the event. Volunteers ages 15 and older are welcome to volunteer at our Mobile Pantries with a guardian.

To learn more about volunteering and sign up, please visit

Food for Thought We are immensely grateful for all of the ways you made an impact in the fight against hunger in 2020, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. With your help, the Central Texas Food Bank distributed 64.5 million pounds of food – more than ever. That’s the equivalent of nearly 54 million meals! 34 percent of the food we distributed in the last fiscal year was fresh produce. In November, we broke another record for individuals served, helping 383,000 individuals access nutritious food through our partners and programs across 21 counties. Considering the lasting impact of the pandemic on our community, you may be contemplating additional ways to amplify your investment in the Food Bank’s mission. There are definite tax advantages to making a gift through a Donor Advised Fund, IRA charitable rollovers or distributions from other retirement accounts as well as donating stocks and bonds. In most cases, the fair market value of the stocks, bonds and mutual fund shares will be allowable as a charitable deduction. The Food Bank would be delighted to work with you on a gift of any of the methods described above along with bequests in your will or trust. If you are interested in these options please contact our Resource Development team at 512-220-2680 or via email at You may not know it, but you have thousands of neighbors in Central Texas who struggle with hunger and who consider you a friend because you made sure they have food on their table.

Winter Home Gardening Tip

from our Garden Manager, Greg Mast


5 minutes Overnight 1 cup 1

INGREDIENTS OATS: ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats ½ cup 1% milk ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce TOPPINGS: 1 tablespoon fat-free plain Greek yogurt (optional) 1 tablespoon chopped strawberries (optional) 1 tablespoon blueberries (optional) 1 tablespoon raspberries (optional) Pinch of cinnamon (optional) 1 teaspoon honey or brown sugar (optional) PREPARATION

Winter is upon us. But here in Central Texas, it’s prime gardening time. To kick start your New Year’s garden, mix a 3-4 inch layer of compost into the top 6-10 inches of your garden soil using a spade or garden fork. Compost can be purchased in bags from most garden centers if you don’t make it at home. While you’re at it, lay down a few more inches of mulch like straw or wood shavings on top of the soil after mixing in the compost. My favorite things to plant this time of year are leafy greens like lettuce, kale, Swiss chard and bok choy. Bok choy might actually be my favorite leafy green, because it’s so versatile and fast growing. Young bok choy leaves are delicious in salads, and the mature leaves can be added to soups, stir fry, egg dishes or steamed for a side dish. Bok choy and other Asian greens like tatsoi, choy sum, komatsuna, and mizuna come in a wide range of colors, leaf shapes, and sizes, many of which aren’t typically found in the grocery store. Check out the seed rack at your local garden center for these and other great cool weather leafy greens.


1. In an 8 oz. Mason jar, combine the oats, milk and applesauce. Mix well. 2. Cover and refrigerate at least eight hours, but no longer than 3 days. 3. When ready to eat, remove from refrigerator and top with fresh fruit and optional toppings (pecans, cinnamon, and honey/brown sugar).

Find more recipes online at

2020 Year in Review We saw demand for our services grow due to the COVID-19 pandemic... Dear <<CnAdrSal_Salutation>>,

The Central Texas Food Bank wrapped up a record-setting fiscal year reflecting a surge in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the fiscal year, the Food Bank distributed just over 64 million pounds of food, exceeding our goal of 51.5 million pounds. As an organization, we distributed more than 53.8 million meals to individuals and families across 21 counties in Central Texas. None of it would have been possible without the support of you, our most loyal donors. In this issue, you will learn about the impressive scale of work you made possible in 2020. We are also including information on becoming a Food Bank volunteer for those who want to get even more involved. What does the future hold? Nobody knows for sure. We anticipate client demand will remain high for the early part of 2021 with a slow recovery back to pre-pandemic need with the earliest full recovery in late 2022 or early 2023. It’s hard to believe how sustained this damage to our community is. We continue to see the same long lines of families seeking our assistance each time we do a food distribution. We are grateful so many donors have stepped up to help meet this dramatic increase in demand. Thank you for supporting individuals facing food insecurity.

Mark Jackson Chief Development Officer

Feeding America estimates that 560,000 people in our 21-county service area face hunger, up from 400,000 pre-pandemic. That means...

Nearly 1 in 5 Central Texans are at risk of hunger (up from 1 in 7)

More than 1 in 4 Central Texas children are at risk of hunger (up from 1 in 5)

Thanks to you, we stepped up to meet the demand... We served an average of 297,000 individuals each month (a 25 percent increase from 2019). We distributed 64.5 million pounds of food (a 24 percent increase from 2019), which is the equivalent of 54 million meals.

70 Millions of Pounds of Food

In this first issue of 2021, we are reflecting on the past year and looking toward the future. 2020 was a year none of us saw coming. COVID-19 introduced a “crisis within a crisis” for those already struggling with hunger, vulnerable to disease, and suffering from systemic inequalities. Giving clients nutritious foods means that they can dedicate their limited resources to other needs.

60 50 40 30 20

of the food distributed was fresh produce.

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215,000 households we served were seeking assistance from the Food Bank for the first time, an increase of 103 percent over 2019.

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 |