San Antonio Food Bank

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Extra Helpings Spring 2010

Hunger Study Shows Rising Numbers of Those in NeedPeople receiving food assistance

Last month, Feeding America released a landmark - Hunger in America - study that showed that 1 in 8 Americans is seeking emergency food assistance from the Feeding America network of Food Banks. For our community, the numbers are even higher. 1 in 5 people in San Antonio and Southwest Texas is getting assistance from the San Antonio Food Bank network of pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens.

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Hunger in America shows that we have more than doubled the number of people we are reaching every week since 2006 – from 25,000 to 58,000.

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Hunger in America shows that children are the fastest growing demographic group receiving emergency food assistance – from 27% in 2006 to 36% in 2009.

Hunger in America shows that half of our clients are faced with difficult choices regarding basic necessities - 48% report having to choose between paying for utilities or heating fuel and food; 47% had to choose between paying for rent or a mortgage and food; 39% report having to choose between paying for gas for a car or food.

But the most important thing Hunger in America does is provide scientific proof for what we already know – we are providing emergency food assistance to more people than ever before. We see their faces every day in our lobby, at our pantries and soup kitchens, at HOPE sites and Kids Cafe sites – the working poor families, the "new poor", the children, the seniors.

"Our numbers have doubled. Where we were helping 30 families every two weeks, now we are serving 50 to 60,” says Pat Stepherson who runs the pantry at Jefferson United Methodist Church.

But the most important thing Hunger in America does is provide scientific proof for what we already know – we are providing emergency food assistance to more people than ever before.

From Where I StandEric Cooper

Dear Friend,

The San Antonio Food Bank is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, but 2010 is proving to be a challenging year. We continue to grow and expand our programs to step up to those challenges before us – meeting the increased need for emergency food assistance.

We have launched a new partnership with HHSC thanks to a federal waiver that eliminates a redundant step in the initiative by allowing the work we do with families count as the interview for the application for SNAP food benefits. This helps families get food assistance faster.

We have expanded our Community Kitchen program into the new Haven for Hope campus. There we’ll be feeding the members of the campus three meals a day, seven days a week throughout the year. We’ll also be operating our life-transforming Culinary Training program at Haven, teaching culinary skills to the homeless on the campus.

We have participated in a state-wide collaborative effort geared at making Texas food secure by 2015. The Texas Hunger Initiative is a collaboration of public/private, governmental, faith based and community organizations, who seek to build capacity by developing and implementing strategies to end hunger through policy, education, community organizing and overall community development. You can find out more about THI at

- Eric Cooper, Executive Director

Spotlight on HungerMother and child

Blanca is a happy person. She has a husband she loves and three great kids. Both her and her husband have steady jobs. She can’t complain.

She doesn’t complain even though every month they are struggling to pay the rent, the bills, and put food on the table for her family. She doesn’t complain, but she didn’t know there was help out there either.

On March 1st, when the San Antonio Food Bank launched its partnership with HHSC to process applications for SNAP benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps), Blanca’s mother, Dolores, saw the story on the evening news. She called Blanca up and encouraged her to connect. “Maybe they can help you,” she told her.

So Blanca listened to her mother and went to the Food Bank. As it turned out, Blanca and her family live just above the federal poverty line – for a family of 5 that is $25,790 a year. "We struggled, but I didn’t know if I qualified for help," Blanca said.

After meeting with a Social Services Outreach Specialist at the Food Bank, Blanca had completed an application for Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Children’s Medicaid and received a list of SAFB partner agencies in her area that could help her with emergency food assistance.

“I just never knew,” she said. “This is a big relief and will help us out so much.”

There are thousands of families just like Blanca’s that are struggling but are unaware of the services available. More than 180,000 families are potentially eligible to receive SNAP benefits but never apply. In addition to food distribution, the San Antonio Food Bank provides numerous programs such as Social Services Outreach that not only solve the immediate problems of hunger, but help individuals and families gain long-term food security.

Policy News

The national legislative policy scene has been dominated for the past several months by the healthcare debate, but the stage is being set for healthy debate regarding Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR). Every five years Congress reviews child nutrition programs that touch millions of children each day and improves educational achievement, economic security, nutrition and health. Programs include the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Summer Food Service, After School Snack and Meal, and Special Supplemental Nutrition for Woman, Infants and Children (WIC). The previous CNR was signed into law on June 30, 2004, ultimately expanding the availability of nutritious meals and snacks to more children in school, after school and in child care programs.

Get engaged with the CNR debate…use your Voice and advocate for a healthy CNR that we can all be proud of. Call or write your Congress Member and encourage them to support the programs that support our future…our kids! For more information on CNR, visit the Food Research and Action Center’s website.

Special FeatureNye Exhibit

Table of Contents

Photographer Michael Nye’s latest exhibition debuted at the Witte Museum January 16. It will run through April 3, 2010. Table of Contents: Stories of Hunger and Resilience, a multi-media exhibition, is a documentary of voices, stories and portraits that explores the lives of 50 individuals who have experienced hunger.

Nye spent the past four years traveling and interviewing people of all ages and backgrounds, recording their personal stories and their portraits through photography. Spending several days with each subject, Nye documented the complex fabric of their lives.

Nye worked with Food Banks, cities, and organizations across the country for this exhibit including the San Antonio Food Bank.

We encourage you to visit the Witte and check out the exhibit today!

Agency Relations CornerReyes Rodriguez

On February 21, the San Antonio Food Bank held its Second Annual Golden Apple Awards Banquet. During the banquet select partners were awarded the Golden Apple Award, presented to agencies and determined by votes from SAFB staff and based on agency participation in our array of programs offered to our partners. Spirit Of Sharing, Food Bank Inc. was awarded "Excellence" Food Pantry of the Year.

The San Antonio Food Bank partners with over 475 nonprofits throughout our sixteen-county service area. Our partners serve an average of more than 58,000 individuals per week. It is through these vital partnerships that the San Antonio Food Bank is able to serve so many in the community with programs ranging from a comprehensive nutrition education program to a social service outreach program that will ensure clients are afforded the best service in application assistance.

The other winners of the night are as follows:

  • Nutrition Partner of the Year: GRASP Food Pantry
  • Social Services Partner of the Year: San Antonio Christian Hope Resource Center
  • Children’s Program of the Year: Presa Community Center
  • Hunger Fighter of the Year: Reyes Rodriguez, Volunteer with Community Angels Food Pantry
  • "Best All Around" Multi Service Agency of the Year: Urban Connections

The San Antonio Food Bank appreciates all our partners for their enduring service to our community and their commitment to end hunger in Southwest Texas.

Upcoming Events

Spring is filled with a variety of different events and opportunities to fight hunger and feed hope. It is a great time to partner with San Antonio Food Bank.

county lineNow in its 10th year, The County Line Music Series gives patrons an opportunity to enjoy a FREE live concert performed by some of the best artists Texas Country music has to offer. Every Wednesday starting March 10th through October 12, the public is invited to the restaurant’s open-air patio for the concerts. Opening acts begin at 6:30 pm with headliners beginning at 8pm. The concert is free but patrons are asked to make a donation of non-perishable food items or a monetary donation for the Food Bank.

Cans of FoodSunday, April 4th marks the 2nd Annual Feed San Antonio Easter Food & Fund Drive. Feed San Antonio started as a call to action to all faith-based organizations made on behalf of Bandera Road Community Church. Churches and faith-based organizations are asked to get involved by holding a Food & Fund drive on Easter Sunday and help fight hunger and feed hope.

Stamp Out HungerDon’t miss your opportunity to Stamp Out Hunger on Saturday, May 8th! The National Association of Letter Carriers and the United States Postal Service will team up to collect food donations and help millions of Americans struggling with hunger. Look for the Stamp Out Hunger paper bag to be delivered during the latter part of April. Letter carriers ask that you fill the bag and leave it by their mailbox on May 8th. They will pick it up and bring it to the Food Bank. We are encouraging all residents to participate in this convenient food drive and don’t forget to thank your local letter carrier for this tremendous effort. Check out pictures from last year's event!

Golf ballWe have some exciting news. Our newest venue for the San Antonio Food Bank’s 6th Annual Golf Tournament, Doing Good on the Green, will be the TPC San Antonio Golf Course at the exclusive JW Marriot Resort. Be one of the first in San Antonio to play at this exclusive resort while supporting our mission. Individual Player entries, teams and sponsorships are available.