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
512-381-7104

Volunteer hours:

Tuesday
9 a.m. – noon (stocking the shelves)

Wednesday
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 HungerIsUNacceptable.com:

  • 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…

YES!

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 lgoddard@austinfoodbank.org.

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…

Josh

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.

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