“You can’t help but feel for the people that have lost so much.”

October 3, 2008 § 2 Comments

The Capital Area Food Bank not only provides food, we also provide manpower to our sister food banks. Miguel Barthe, CAFB driver, helped The New Orleans Food Bank serve western parishes of Louisiana affected by Hurricane Ike. He reports his experience:

Miguel Barthe

Miguel Barthe

“As I started my trip to New Orleans it was a beautiful day. As I got into Houston I couldn’t help but notice the forces of nature and the devastation from Houston and all the way to New Orleans.

Trees were snapped like twigs, on top of homes, and there was water damage and debris everywhere. The water covered the streets. People were looking for friends, family, pets and even their personal belongings.
Flooding from Hurricane Ike

Flooding from Hurricane Ike


You can’t help but feel for the people that have lost so much. As an evacuee of Hurricane Katrina, my eyes are opened and I’m truly aware and saddened by this devastating reality.

During my stay, I helped the New Orleans Food Bank organize food and supplies and worked to distribute emergency packages as needed.

I’m amazed and thankful at the generosity of these communities and in working with the New Orleans Food Bank and the Food Bank in Austin, I’ve realized that this is such a great resource. The Food Banks really care.”




Thanks, Cliff…and thousands more.

September 22, 2008 § 4 Comments

THANK YOU – We graciously thank all of the community members who donated their time and money to our Hurricane Ike relief efforts. As of 1 p.m. Monday, more than 375,000 pounds of food & supplies and $420,000 has been donated by Central Texas.


Dorothy Galloway

Dozens who volunteered for the first time at CAFB last week, including Dorothy Galloway who is living in Austin with her son until her home in Houston has electricity again. On Friday, Galloway filed papers, folded newsletters and helped the Food Bank staff with various projects.

“People have been kind to me, and I thought maybe I had something to give back,” Galloway said.

And many long-time volunteers have put in hours for Ike relief, too. Cliff Wilkes has sorted food donations once a week in the CAFB warehouse since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. This week, Wilkes gave Hurricane Ike evacuees emergency food packages and saw the direct impact of volunteering at the Food Bank.



“You see all walks of life coming through the lines,” said Wilkes. “Whether they’re driving a ten-year-old Datsun or a three-week-old Escalade, they still may have lost their houses and need help. So that’s why we’re here and that’s what we’re doing. People are very appreciative.”

We would not be able to serve thousands of evacuees without the help of our volunteers, and equally as important are those who gave monetary contributions. A couple came in on their seventh wedding anniversary and gave $300.

“We decided to take all the money we would have spent on flowers, dinner and gifts and donate it to the Food Bank,” she said. “We are going to have a simple meal at home tonight.”

Ike Relief Update, as of 2pm Monday –

This week, we will send up to seven (7) tractor-trailers of food and supplies to the Houston Food Bank and Montgomery County Food Bank.  Each truck holds about 42,000 pounds.

CAFB staff deployed to help:
CAFB Warehouse Lead, Ryan Toups, is at the Houston Food Bank this week, assisting with shipping and receiving. CAFB driver, Miguel Barthe is helping the New Orleans Food Bank serve western parishes of Louisiana, which were impacted by both Gustav and Ike.

Evacuees staying in Central Texas can receive emergency food packages from our Partner Agencies throughout Central Texas.  We are working closely with our Partner Agencies to make sure they are stocked to meet the demand.  A referral list of agencies is at www.austinfoodbank.org

About 8,000 emergency food packages, total, have been distributed so far.

The Food Bank will continue to accept donations on-site, around the clock, Monday through Friday.  

MOST NEEDED: Canned meats and soups with pop-top lids, and diapers (adult and baby), Granola bars, Peanut butter, Personal care items (shampoo, toothbrushes, soap, feminine hygiene).

** We no longer need bottled water or pet food. **



Ike Relief Update & Next Steps

September 19, 2008 § Leave a comment

Volunteers and staff work together in assisting evacuees
Volunteers and staff work together in assisting evacuees

Evacuees ready for assistance
Cars continue to line the parking lot

As of 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19

Approximately 240,000 pounds of food & supplies and $380,000 has been donated by the public. Volunteers are preparing emergency food packages to give to evacuees on site and to ship to food banks in affected areas. We are in close contact with the Houston Food Bank and will send food and supplies as soon as their infrastructure to receive and distribute is in place.

Emergency food packages are available at the Food Bank for evacuees staying in Central Texas. They can pick them up NOON – 5 p.m. on FRIDAY, 9/19 and SATURDAY, 9/20 at: 8201 S. Congress Ave, between William Cannon & Slaughter Lane.

NEXT STEPS: After Saturday, evacuees can receive emergency food packages from CAFB Partner Agencies throughout Central Texas. We are working closely with our Partner Agencies to make sure they are stocked to meet the demand. View or referral list here. (pdf)

The Food Bank will accept donations on-site, around the clock THROUGH SATURDAY, 9/19 at 5 p.m. Donations will be accepted again Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

MOST NEEDED: Canned meats and soups with pop-top lids, and diapers (adult and baby), granola bars, peanut butter, personal care items (shampoo, toothbrushes, soap, feminine hygiene).

** We no longer need bottled water or pet food. **

Thank you for your continued support. We love being a part of this amazing and generous community!

Community Comes Together for Ike Relief Efforts

September 18, 2008 § 1 Comment

EXTENDED: Emergency food packages are available at the Food Bank for evacuees staying in Central Texas. You can pick them up NOON – 5 p.m. NOW THROUGH SATURDAY, SEPT. 20.

After Saturday, evacuees can receive emergency food packages from CAFB Partner Agencies throughout Central Texas. We are working closely with our Partner Agencies to make sure they are stocked to meet the demand. View our referral list here. (pdf)

MOST NEEDED: Canned meats with pop-top lids, diapers (adult and baby), granola bars, peanut butter, personal care items including shampoo, toothbrushes, soap and feminine hygiene products.

**We no longer need bottled water or pet food.**

Tyson Foods You might remember Tyson Food’s generous donation earlier this month. In response to disaster relief they have also donated truck loads of emergency food to affected Texas Food Banks including an additional truck to us. Thank you, Tyson Foods!

Save-A-Lot – Based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Save-A-Lot is an extreme value grocery store with several stores in Houston.

Sav-A-Lot driver

Save-A-Lot driver

They wanted to assist the local area evacuees and researched online, came across our blog and contacted us.

They donated almost 20,000 pounds of emergency items, including items we needed that weren’t on the list. Thank you, Save-A-Lot!

H-E-B – On Wed., Sept. 17, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., the H-E-B on Parmer Lane and IH35 collected food and financial donations from the community for Hurricane Ike disaster relief.

With your help, we raised approximately 138,000 pounds of food and supplies and $65,000 in financial contributions.

David Davenport (left) and Mr. Everything (right)

David Davenport (left) and Mr. Everything (right)

In addition to the donations, we met David Zurovetz, a resident of Austin for 39 years who supports the community with enthusiasm and flare. He’s a friend of the Bucky & Bob show on 98.1KVET and is known to them as “Everything.”

Emergency Food Stamps Available for Hurricane Ike Evacuees

September 16, 2008 § 3 Comments

Do you…

Live in one of the 29 counties declared a disaster area?
Have less than $5,000 in liquid resources (i.e., savings/checking account)?
Have a monthly income that does not exceed:

If so, you may qualify for two months of Emergency Food Stamps

This benefit will allow you to purchase groceries for your family, as well as hot, ready-to-eat food. The average benefit is $93 per-month!

Household Size Gross income:

1                                                $1,430

2                                                 1,925

3                                                 2,420

4                                                 2,915

Each additional person                        +495
To apply for Emergency Food Stamps

Bring proof of your identity & residence to one of Austin’s food stamps offices:

1601 RUTHERFORD LN – 512-339-8868
1165 AIRPORT BLVD – 512-929-7330
724 EBERHART LN – 512-445-0022 (closest office to the Food Bank)

Hurricane Ike Relief Update

September 16, 2008 § 2 Comments

As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, 67,000 pounds of food & supplies and $180,000 has been donated by the public. When we sent out an emergency call for help to the community, you responded in a big way. Thank you for acting so quickly!

Today’s relief efforts started at 5 a.m. as staff went live from our warehouse with local stations News 8 Austin, and FOX 7. Volunteers helped throughout the morning to prepare hundreds of emergency food packages for today’s distribution at the Food Bank and to send to Partner Agencies. As volunteers and staff prepared for the noon distribution, a line of cars formed through our parking lot all the way to William Cannon and I-35. Commander Calvin Smith of the SE Area Command sent an officer to assist with traffic as we begin serving evacuees.

Thanks to the many donations on our website and at the Food Bank, about 2,500 food packages have been distributed so far, and we were able to quickly purchase additional food with the money donated over the past few days for our upcoming distributions.

Special thanks to Whole Foods Southwest Distribution for donating a tractor trailer load of water (40,920 lbs). Whole Foods volunteered to continue collecting food at their downtown store since last week’s HAM-up Grill up. Just look for the blue barrel in the front of the store.

Supporting our Sister Food Banks
In addition to supporting evacuees in Austin, the Food Bank answered the Brazos Valley Food Bank’s call for assistance. We sent almost 17,000 pounds of emergency items yesterday.

Miguel Barthe, a Katrina evacuee from New Orleans, and Food Bank driver, volunteered to support the New Orleans Food Bank for the upcoming week. Miguel, who has not been back to New Orleans since the Katrina evacuation three years ago, looks forward to reuniting with his hometown. “I wanted to help New Orleans, just like Austin helped me,” he said, “and it will be good to see my family too.”

Food Drive at H-E-B Wednesday
On Wednesday September 17, H-E-B on Parmer Lane at IH-35 will host a food drive from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Please donate our most-needed items as well as financial donations. Blue Whale Moving and Storage company is helping transport donated items to the Food Bank, saving us fuel and transportation costs.

Learn more and donate at austinfoodbank.org.
Visit our “I want to help” page on austinfoodbank.org to get the latest information on most needed items, volunteer opportunities and how to donate.

If you know someone that needs help, please visit our “I need help” page, with the latest information on Emergency Food Stamps.

View the Hurricane Ike Relief photo album on flickr.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Hurricane Ike Evacuees Express Appreciation for Emergency Food Boxes

September 15, 2008 § Leave a comment

Jack Buxton

Jack Buxton

More than 1,600 Hurricane Ike evacuees not staying at local shelters made their way to the Capital Area Food Bank on Monday to pick up emergency food boxes. Evacuees may not be able to return to their homes for another 4 to 6 weeks, and many have already run out of money to provide for themselves while they temporarily stay with relatives or friends. Supplies ran out at 2 p.m. Monday, forcing CAFB employees to regretfully turn some away.

Jeannette Britnell and daughter

Jeannette Britnell and daughter

Jack Buxton, a floral arranger from Galveston, is staying with his daughter in Austin. He learned about the emergency food boxes on News 8 and was grateful to receive the food that will provide for himself, his girlfriend and her two children in the days to come. “We had limited money that we brought, and now that is running out. I don’t want to be a burden on my daughter. Her husband just got laid off.”

Buxton’s boss already told him to file for unemployment, since there is no way to know when the flower store will have regular business again.

Families waiting for food boxes at CAFB

Families waiting for food boxes at CAFB

Many Hurricane Ike evacuees are fortunate to have loved ones house them and offer moral support. But many of the evacuees expressed sentiments of not wanting to impose on their Austin relatives who may have limited resources. Yolanda Gutierrez and eleven extended family members are staying in Austin with in-laws. They evacuated from Texas City with a week’s worth of clothes, some water and any dry goods they already had from their pantries. Although friends of their relatives gave Gutierrez’s family some food, twelve mouths is a lot to feed. Right now, the Food Bank is their only source of food. “The items provided [in the box] are very helpful. Soups, beans, things that children can eat.” Gutierrez has experience with emergency food boxes: her own church, where her husband is the pastor, has a food pantry that gives to the community every other week. “We are just very thankful. It’s nice to know that we can depend on the Food Bank here in Austin.”

Tera and Kim Denney

Tera and Kim Denney

Jeannette Britnell, a retiree from Orange, found out about CAFB’s emergency food boxes when she and her family went looking for help at an Austin area Goodwill. Britnell says she doesn’t know what condition her house is in, or even when she can return home. The assurance of receiving a food box, and the news that CAFB was also giving out dog food, allowed her to temporarily relax. “Altogether we have six dogs. They’re all small, but we had to bring them.” The only other items that Britnell was able to fit in the family car were some clothes and her oxygen machine, giving her no choice but to leave everything else behind. “I had a little bit of cash with me, and I spent it on groceries yesterday. It didn’t last long.”

Kim Denney and her thirteen year old daughter, Tera, evacuated from Lumberton to stay at a motel in the small town of Giddings, Texas. They drove an hour west to Austin this morning because they heard about the assistance CAFB was offering people. Denney and her daughter were grateful to receive “substantial food” and “something other than Ramen noodles” which is what the two have been eating for the past few days. Tera Denney choked up while expressing her appreciation. “We didn’t bring much food, clothing or anything like that. It is just a big thank you. My mom and I both started crying the other day because we couldn’t pay for anything. We didn’t have enough money. My nanny had to give us $200 today to pay for the next few days of the hotel room.”

Everyday survival may still be a struggle for evacuees for some time, even after they can return home. “We just had gone shopping and our freezer had a bunch of food in it,” said Denney. “It’s all gonna be ruined when we get back.”


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