CAFB volunteer, Kurt Dyer, helps families enjoy grandma’s best recipe.

February 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

St. John Community Food Center is a CAFB – run food pantry which provides clients with a personal shopping experience, SNAP application assistance and special distributions for older adults. This pantry is part of a collaborative effort with For The City and other nonprofits providing complementary services for clients. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, we’re able to provide this service every Wednesday. Meet Kurt Dyer, one of our volunteers who makes this possible

CAFB: Why do you volunteer?

KD: To pay forward the blessings I received when I was helped by family and friends when I was injured in a crash with a drunken driver. I can’t pay back the wonderful help I received during my recovery, so maybe someone else can move on to a better life with the help of the Food Bank.

CAFB: Why do you think people should care about hunger in our community?

KD: Too many reasons to list, but what if you were looking down at that empty plate feeling hunger pains and you told yourself, “No, no, I am not going to eat one more bite of Grandma’s best recipe. I’m on a diet and I just can’t eat any more.” What if you were looking down at that empty plate feeling hunger pains because Grandma had no food to make her best recipes. With help, this food pantry might have had some of the ingredients for Grandma to make it through this year.

CAFB: What do you do when you volunteer at a food pantry like the St. John Community Food Center?

KD: I enjoy getting to know other volunteers and staff. We assist people by putting their grocery items in bags, and we help people carry their bags to their car.

CAFB: Can you describe a touching, funny, or surprising moment from your service at the St. John Community Food Center?

KD: I was told a very touching story, recently. The other day a grandmother told me she had her grandkids come live with her as their mother had just died. It was going to be impossible for “Grandma to make her best recipes.” My accident also killed the mother of my children. It was Christmas time when she passed. I was on life support in the ICU. Family, friends and the community came together and helped us so that it was possible for “Grandma to make her best recipes” for my family.

Volunteer at the St. John Community Food Center

500 E. St. Johns Ave., Austin, TX 78752

Volunteer hours:

9 a.m. – noon (stocking the shelves)

8:30 a.m. – noon (distribution to families)

Visit out volunteer page for more information.

New Travis County Community Impact Report Reveals Many Families Struggle to Meet Basic Needs.

January 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Released this month is part one of a report by the Travis County Commissioners Court report on community conditions in Travis County.  This report is a great resource for those looking to understand why so many in Travis County struggle to make ends meet and why some CAFB Partner Agencies have reported a 30-40% increase in clientele this past year.

Key findings on hunger in the report:

  • About 43% of households with incomes below the poverty level have trouble providing enough food and more than one-third of low-income families with incomes somewhat above the poverty level (up to 185%) also have difficulty providing adequate access to food.
  • Income has not kept pace with the cost of food. In 2000, a family of four could live on a food budget of about $434 per month; in 2010, this cost was $583, an increase of about 35%.
  • Food-related calls to 2-1-1 increased by 8% (from 6,457 calls in 2008 to 6,987 in 2009).
  • More families are enrolling in SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), and that number in Travis county steadily increases. In December 2010, there were 49,409 SNAP cases in Travis County with 110,756 people (about 11% of all Travis County residents) receiving benefits.

Read the full report.

More than one-third (35%) of residents (352,398 people) lived in households with incomes at or below 200% of the poverty level (that’s $21,660 for an individual or $44,100 for a family of four). That’s a lot of people who may not be income-eligible for WIC or SNAP, but still need help and come to the Food Bank or one of our Partner Agencies to receive assistance.

As the population in Travis County explodes, are these hunger facts sustainable?  Is this acceptable?  We don’t think so.

Learn more on

  • Check out our interactive cost of living infographic to learn more about what it takes to live in Austin-Round Rock MSA.
  • Learn more about Travis County on our county map infographic.
  • How far do you have to travel to find hunger-relief resources, especially when you live in a low- income area?  The hunger gaps map shows the intersection of poverty and resources in CAFB’s 21-county service territory.

Do something:

  • Take a virtual shopping trip.  Drag and drop food items into the cart to donate the cost of food to the Food Bank.
  • Share your concerns and this blog post with your elected officials.  Tell them to make hunger issues a priority. Click here to find your representative.

“Should I donate food or donate money?” CAFB answers.

January 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Credit: Taylor Craig

If you want to do good, and be good at doing good, we’re here to help. Look for our new blog series: “Your questions. CAFB’s answers.” to help you understand how your community food bank provides hunger relief. Learn how to navigate through the philanthropy jargon, and become a savvy supporter of CAFB’s mission.

On to today’s question.

If you’ve heard us say, “Every dollar donated provides $5 worth of nutritious food”, you may think it’s a no brainer – of course food donations are best.

This video produced by University of Pennsylvania Center for High-Impact Philanthropy highlights key benefits financial donations provide to CAFB and the 350 Partner Agencies we work with.

Food banks and pantries generally have greater buying power than the average consumer, which allows us to provide the right foods to support our diverse clientele.  Cash donations, especially online donations, don’t take as much time to process, where food donations from the community are thoroughly inspected for safety. You may also prefer to give cash, since food donations are not tax-deductable.

So, sure, cash sounds like a great gift for the Food Bank. What’s better than the multiplier effect, lower overhead, and a tax deduction to boot?

Not so fast.

Donating food provides something money can’t – a donation experience.   The time a donor takes to choose their donation, deliver their donation, and share their experience with a friend or family member has tremendous value.  For parents and educators, a food donation can be a teachable moment.

A shining example is the educational and service learning program provided by A Legacy of Giving. Each year, hundreds of Austin-area students learn how to address poverty through a food and coat drive.

Credit: Darcy Elizabeth Photography

Then, there is Scouting for Food, a new partner with Souper Bowl of Caring.  Scouts get a new opportunity to interact with their community by knocking on doors and picking up bags of donated non-perishable food items to bring back to the Food Bank.

Credit: CAFB

For that simple donation of beans, The Food Bank benefits from grassroots marketing, a discussion about nutrition as donors decide the type of food their neighbors may enjoy, and potentially a new connection between a Scout and his neighbor.  This is priceless.

So, the answer to your question is…


Donate food if it moves you to act. Donate money if it inspires you to talk to your friends, co-workers and neighbors to help join in.  However you stake your claim on ending hunger in Central Texas, we’ll be there to accept your gift.  Click here to get started.

Do you have a question you’d like us to answer through the blog?  Send an email to

Win Earl Campbell’s Boots!

January 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Somebody will always break your records. It is how you live that counts.
– Earl Campbell, 43rd winner of the Heisman Memorial Trophy and 1991 inductee of the NFL Hall of Fame.

Today, Earl Campbell wants you to live with a great pair of autographed UT Lucchese Boots and as a hunger hero. Don’t miss the opportunity to be the proud owner of these unique handmade boots made of the finest grade leather and near-perfect skins for a boot that is truly worthy of an autograph of the “one-man demolition team”.

Visit the Facebook auction page on the 25th to bid. The auction begins at noon and ends on the 28th at 4 p.m. (CST).  Bidding starts at $225 and you can bid as much as you want in $5 increments. All proceeds will be donated to the Food Bank.

For those new to Facebook auctions:

1. “Like” the University Co-op Facebook page
2. Tag yourself in the auction photo.
3. Comment on the photo with your bid and email address.

It’s that simple.  Keep up with the auction’s  progress by following the hashtag #earlsboots on Twitter.  Good luck!

Applied Materials: Transforming Central Texas Through Hunger Relief.

January 21, 2011 § 2 Comments

Applied Materials Solar Car Races

At Applied Materials, corporate responsibility is about improving the way people live and helping to create a bright future in the communities in which they operate.  We’re grateful that once again, Applied Materials focused their efforts on local hunger relief. Through a combination of tried-and-true Applied Materials favorite events, and a twist on some new ones, they raised more than $123,000 and 432 pounds of food. Thank you, Applied Materials, for your long-standing commitment to fighting hunger in our community! Enjoy these photos of their fundraising events from our friends, and hunger heroes, at Applied Materials.

Thank you, from the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.

January 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

In 2010, your generosity nourished thousands of Central Texans. Thank you for acting on the belief that hunger is unacceptable. Watch this special video to learn about your impact. Please share with your friends and co-workers.

SolarWinds and FOX 7 turned “Hungry Holidays into Happy Holidays”

January 18, 2011 § 7 Comments

Our “Turn Hungry Holidays into Happy Holidays” campaign sponsored by FOX 7 and SolarWinds, was a great success. Your generous gifts of more than $500,000 provide nourishment and hope for our neighbors in need. This campaign was very special for us; we raised more funds than last year, and our sponsors put their own spin on the campaign to engage their employees and help lead the technology community in ending hunger.

SolarWinds issued a challenge to technology companies in Central Texas to beat the $13,000 in cash and food donations raised by their employees during their two-week drive.

For Microsoft, them’s fightin’ words and they stepped up to the challenge. It was great to have two competitors in the business world use that energy and enthusiasm to nourish the hungry in our community.

“The Microsoft team in Austin was proud to participate in this year’s Food Drive Challenge. Thank you to SolarWinds for inviting us. We had a lot of fun raising the donations and hope to do it again next year,” said Gary Geddes from Microsoft.

Team Microsoft

Congratulations to Microsoft for beating SolarWinds in the Geeks who Give Challenge.  Enjoy those bragging rights.

Josh Stephens, also known as “Head Geek” at SolarWinds, shares a wrap up of the campaign on his blog.

A little while back I wrote a blog post entitled “Hunger Sucks” that we used to help drive awareness to the Capital Area Food Bank’s (CAFB) “Turn Hungry Holidays into Happy Holidays” food and fundraising campaign. It was a call to arms to fellow geeks out there to step up and help fight hunger here in Austin and within the greater metropolitan area. You stepped up big time. Here are some of the results.

You see, for the past three years SolarWinds has been supporting the CAFB through holiday food and fundraising drives. This year, we wanted to take it a step farther by underwriting the area-wide campaign and challenging other Austin technology companies to help as well. With the help of other technologists in the area and fellow tech company Microsoft, we raised a total of over $17,000 AND 2,300 pounds of food AND there were over 225 participants!!! As my buddy Justin Endres here at SolarWinds would say – OUTSTANDING!!!

I’ve gotta tell you, I was impressed by the way that everyone stepped up. CAFB has been great to work with; we’re looking forward to our next event with them sometime soon. They’ve asked us to volunteer at the Austin Reggae Festival in April. I just might be too redneck for reggae, but heck, to help fight hunger, maybe even I could channel my inner Rastafarian. Sing it with me… “Don’t worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright.”

Thanks again for your contributions and for those of you that didn’t get a chance to help – there’s still time. You can go online to CAFB now and donate directly to help end hunger.

Flame on…


Thank you, Josh, for being our Hunger Hero. We had a lot of fun working with you and your team this past year, and plan on having even more fun at the Austin Reggae Festival. And, just for you, we WILL flame on.

Here I am… Helping. Learning. Growing.

January 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

On the MLK Day of Service, a chance to start the year off right by making an impact in your community and celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we thought it would be fitting to share a blog post written by one of our volunteers.

by Jenn Cowan

As a new self-proclaimed Austinite, waiting for the semester at Texas State University to begin, I decided it was time to get involved in something meaningful.

So, what to do in one of the fastest growing cities in America?


I was lucky enough to find an opportunity on one night while checking my email.  With so many different organizations from which to choose, I singled out the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.  Once I learned how much of an impact the Food Bank has on our local and surrounding area, it was a no-brainer.  Volunteer my time; learn the ins-and-outs of online marketing for a successful non-profit; network with amazing people; and give back to the community from which I am now proud to be part of.

How could I not?

Each day, as I make my way to the front door, I am reminded of the compassion that still exists, as it brightens my day to see volunteers loading a truck or separating food. As I continue into the building, I am greeted with smiling faces (if the energy from each individual could be tapped somehow, I think the folks at CAFB could make tons of money as a supplier). I make my way up the stairs and into my cubical to begin my day.

Before I explain what I do as a marketing intern, let me start with a brief explanation of CAFB’s impact on our community. The Capital Area Food Bank of Texas provides food and grocery products to more than 350 Partner Agencies in 21 Central Texas counties.  Last year, CAFB provided more than 25 million pounds of food and its service area covers 19,064 square miles in Central Texas.

It was unbeknownst to me that our Food bank services so many surrounding counties in our area. That’s pretty substantial, right? Over 25 million pounds of food within a year, really? That’s fantastic!

Now, back to my day.  As an online marketing intern, it’s my duty to help develop an online presence for the Food Bank Check out some of the new and cutting edge things we’re doing.

Here I am… Helping. Learning. Growing.

Now, what will you do?

Cooking for Your Life

January 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

by Claudia Shenoda, CAFB Nutrition Educator, BSFCS

I was honored to work with a group of older adults who participated in my Cooking for Your Life Class, a four-week series that teaches low-income adults about food and kitchen safety, basic nutrition principles, and allows participants to prepare a variety of healthy, budget-friendly recipes.  I taught the classes at Conley-Guerrero Senior Center, a community gathering place for senior citizens in east Austin.  Thirty-six seniors attended the classes over four weeks and many of them came to all four classes.

At first I wasn’t sure if this group, with so many diverse life experiences, would find my class useful, but their enthusiasm and faithful attendance each week showed me that they wanted to be there.  Janey Martinez, a diligent participant, told me every class that she learned so much (I was able to witness this personally as she told me of her smarter choices at the grocery store using the nutrition label to make healthier decisions), and others often thanked me warmly for the day’s lesson which provided new information and reinforcing messages about nutrition and food safety.  I even won over a veteran/professional cake baker who was skeptical when we made banana nut muffins with little oil, no sugar and whole wheat flour.  However, she positively expressed her regard of the recipes we prepared by preparing all of them in her own home over the course of four weeks.

The food safety component of this class, which focuses on four principles—clean, separate, chill and cook—proved especially relevant to this group because older adults are one of the three groups most susceptible to food borne illness.  The lessons on healthier choices, appropriate serving sizes, and the various health benefits among the grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy groups provided essential information to these seniors who are also among the highest nutritionally at-risk groups in the country.  Class participants also learned new ways to prepare foods using healthy and affordable ingredients using these recipes: Banana Nut Muffins; Chicken Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Raisins; Tempting Tostadas; and Easy Lasagna.

Teaching the class proved a rewarding experience for all of us.  They said they gained invaluable knowledge that will help them live a longer and healthier life, and I gained a sense of honor in working with them to change the way they think, prepare, and consume food.

I’ve included the infamous class recipe for Banana Nut Muffins below.  This is a healthy and tasty recipe that is sure to be a hit with people of all ages!

Banana Nut Muffins Serving size: 1 muffin

Prep time: 20 minutes                                                                                             Serves: 14


2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup hot water
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup mashed bananas


1.       Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2.       In a large bowl, beat oil, apple sauce and honey together. Add eggs, and mix well. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter. Blend in chopped nuts.

3.       Spray lined muffin tins with cooking spray.

4.       Fill lined muffin tins 2/3 of the way full.

5.       Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before enjoying.

Nutrition Information per Serving:

Calories 160, Total Fat 6g, Carbohydrates 26g, Fiber 3g, Protein 4g, Sodium 180mg, Cholesterol 30mg


Recipe modified by CHOICES Nutrition Education Program

8 Ways to Tackle Hunger with Souper Bowl of Caring

January 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s that time of the year again – time to join the biggest youth-led food and fund drive in Central Texas.  Each year we like to mix it up and encourage more people to participate.  Last year, Tyson Foods challenged you to comment on their blog , which triggered a 100-pound food donation.

This year, along with Austin’s competing television networks, radio stations, print publications, grocery stores and other community  partners, we’re teaming up with the Boy Scouts of Central Texas to reach our goal of one million meals.  We can achieve our goal with fun activities for you online and in your Central Texas community. Here’s how you can get involved:

1. Join a team. Search online to find your team or start a new team and get registered.

2. Register your team for MLK Day. When you register online, you’ll receive your monthly e-newsletter and a free Resource Kit to help promote your event.

3. Enter the CAFB Souper Bowl of Caring Blog Contest.

Show off your creative talent by sending us a blog post with a photo gallery or video about your work with Souper Bowl of Caring.  Winning entries will be featured on our blog at and on our Facebook page.

You’ll also get a limited edition Hunger is UNacceptable t-shirt and water bottle, as well as a special guided tour of the Food Bank for you and your friends.  This is a great opportunity for youth to build their resume, for college applications, and to demonstrate leadership in your community. Click here to enter.

Contest Rules

  • It must be about Souper Bowl of Caring.
  • It must mention our goal of raising 1 million meals.
  • It must include the words “Hunger is unacceptable.”
  • Videos must be no longer than 3 minutes.

4. Donate online. Take a virtual shopping trip by putting food items into your online shopping cart. Then click “Donate” to donate the cost of those items to the Food Bank. It’s a fun way to help end hunger!

5. Support the “Scouting for Food” Food Drive

The Capitol Area Council Boy Scouts will be conducting a Food and Fund Drive in many areas throughout Central Texas. Scouts will leave door hangers on your door the week of January 22 – 29 and return to pick up non-perishable food items the following Saturday.  Your donation will support a Capital Area Food Bank Partner Agency in your community.

On February 5, you’re invited to join us for the 101st anniversary celebration of the Scouting movement at the 62nd annual Boy Scout Parade and Report to the State of Texas in conjunction with the Souper Bowl of Caring. Watch the Boy Scouts State Parade on Congress Avenue where the scouts will collect healthy, non-perishable food donations for our Central Texas neighbors in need.

7. Donate at your local Randalls, H-E-B and Central Market’s

While you’re shopping for snacks for game day, consider sharing a meal with those in need. Purchase pre-packaged bags of most-needed items or look for tear-off coupons in the amounts of $1, $3 and $5 at checkout stands in area Randalls, H-E-B and Central Market grocery stores.  Your purchase of a pre-packaged bag at either retailer provides two meals for a family of four.

8. Participate in Souper Bowl of Caring and save on Harlem Globetrotters tickets

The Harlem Globetrotters “4 Times the Fun” World Tour is coming to Austin on Friday, January 28.  When you support Souper Bowl of Caring you’ll save $7 on tickets. Learn more.

Thank you, Partners:

HEB, Central Market, Randalls, FOX 7, News 8, KEYE TV, KVUE-TV, TeleFutura, Telemundo, Univision, The CW, My Austin TV, KVET, KASE 101, AM 1300 The Zone, Buena 104.3, La Jefa 107.7, Relevant Radio 970 AM, The Statesman, The Jewish Outlook, Ahora sí, Capitol Area Council Boy Scouts of America, and Harlem Globetrotters.

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