|Extra Helpings Summer 2010|
Summer is Busy, Busy Time at the Food Bank
On any given day this summer, you don’t have to look very hard to find the San Antonio Food Bank at work in your community. In addition to our regular hungerfighting programs, several new programs started up to help us meet the increased demand for emergency food assistance during the summer months.
Although over 18 million children participated in the free or reduced priced school meal program in FY 2007, less than 3 million children received meals during the summer months, largely due to the lack of local programs. Simply put, too many of America’s kids are going hungry in the summer.
Our Summer Food Service Program kicked off June 1 with 125 nutrition sites enrolled, up from 88 last year. Through more sites, we hope to reach more children who otherwise wouldn’t have enough to eat this summer.
July marked the start of several programs – some old, some new – for the San Antonio Food Bank. The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program returned for the second year to help connect our seniors with fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally. Also, after a four-year hiatus, we received funding for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). CSFP provides commodity food packages for elderly persons at least 60 years of age who meet income eligibility requirements. Through these two programs, the San Antonio Food Bank is going to expand its services for seniors in need.
However, the program that launched this summer that will have the largest impact is the Summer Family Nutrition Program (SFNP). SFNP will enable the San Antonio Food Bank to provide a 50-lbs. food box to up to 40,000 families in need every month through September. Texas currently ranks number one in the rate of child hunger nationally, and number two in overall hunger, according to the USDA. As a result of the recession, many more Texas families with children now find themselves seeking charitable and state food relief for the first time.
Texas currently ranks number one in the rate of child hunger nationally, and number two in overall hunger, according to the USDA. As a result of the recession, many more Texas families with children now find themselves seeking charitable and state food relief for the first time.
Through our many programs, we provide the nourishment families need to make it through these difficult times.
We invite you to be a part of the solution - donate time, money and your voice. Together, we can create a hunger-free Southwest Texas!
From Where I Stand
This year is turning out to be a year of expansion for the San Antonio Food Bank. Earlier this year, we released the latest Hunger Study figures which show that we are serving more than double the number of individuals now compared to four years ago – 58,000 every week up from 25,000!
We expanded our facility to increase capacity in our call center and program offices. The finish out of our mezzanine was completed in May and couldn’t have come at a better time as we grow our outreach programs and add new staff for our summer programs.
As our “Peanut Butter & Jelly Deli” launched on June 1 for the Summer Food Service Program, I recalled our first year operating this program. Back in 2003, we served 34,409 meals through SFSP during that summer. This year, our goal is to serve more than 250,000 meals and at last count (July 27) we were topping 200,000 meals.
In addition, as you read in our cover story, we have several new programs to serve families and seniors in need during the summer and throughout the year.
Our growth will continue in 2011 with a new “client-choice” pantry in Comal County thanks to a grant from the McKenna Legacy Foundation. This new pantry will enable the San Antonio Food Bank to better serve that community through emergency food assistance as well as Social Service Outreach and Nutrition Education. We’re excited about this new endeavor and will continue to share updates on it through our website.
All of this cannot be accomplished without the help of the community through donations of Food, Time, Money and your Voice. From the volunteers that start preparing summer meals at 8am to the catering company that takes that extra step to donate left over prepared food. From our individual supporters and corporate donors to our advocates sending emails to their congressman to support a strong Child Nutrition bill. We are only a reflection of our community – it is you who has made us so successful.
- Eric Cooper, President/CEO
Spotlight on Hunger
A few years ago, Leo and his wife made a tough decision that would affect their lives and that of their two daughters. They decided to leave California and their family for Texas.
“The schools are much better here, quality of life is better, cost of living is less expensive. Where we lived, there were gangs selling drugs in our neighborhood. My tools would get stolen all the time. It was bad. It is much better here.”
If you ask his two little girls, Maria and Cristina, they will hesitate but agree. “All our family is over there. We miss them.”
Still, Leo knows he made a good decision for a brighter future for his family. His only problem now living here in San Antonio is finding stable employment.
“I’ve been out of work now for about a month and a half. My wife just found work, but it is getting tough.”
Leo works in commercial construction. He goes to Texas Workforce several times a week but is having a difficult time finding employment.
That is how Leo and his two girls made their way to the San Antonio Food Bank. He used to pass by every day on his way to work. Now it was time to stop in.
Leo came to the Food Bank seeking application assistance for federal benefits. Specifically, he is hoping to get SNAP benefits and healthcare for his daughters.
“I’ve used food stamps before when I’ve been unemployed. I know it’s a good resource during difficult times,” Leo said.
At the Food Bank, Leo, Maria and Cristina sat with one of our Social Services Outreach workers and learned about the many different programs the Food Bank has available. They were able to fill out the application for SNAP, Children’s Medicaid, and WIC. Thanks to the federal waiver we received, the Food Bank was also able to conduct the interview for SNAP benefits and receive the Lone Star EBT card immediately. In addition, Leo signed up his family for the Summer Family Nutrition Program and now, once a month they will receive an additional 50 lbs. of food.
As Leo left, he said “That was easy! Thank you so much.”
Recently the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) along with Feeding America circulated a funding support letter and encouraged agencies and individuals to sign onto it and to write their U.S. Senate Members to urge them to help and support full funding for Child Nutrition Reauthorization. The San Antonio Food Bank will continue to advocate for a reauthorization bill that provides more low-income children with better access to programs and that will ultimately bring us closer to ending child hunger by 2015.
While the SAFB supports swift passage of a healthy CNR bill, it is critical that the bill contains adequate funding to improve low-income children’s access to important hunger relief/nutritious programs, at least the $1 billion per year requested by the President ($10 billion over ten years). The Senate bill that was passed out of committee contains about half the funding requested. As hunger advocates, we will continue to advocate for the full funding that the President has requested.
Please go to FRAC's website for continued progress reports and information pertaining to CNR.
If you would like to become an advocate, please visit www.hungeractioncenter.org or call 210.431.8308 to sign up.
Agency Relations Corner
Every week, we provide emergency food assistance to 58,000 individuals in need. We can only do this through our incredible network of partner agencies. From soup kitchens to church pantries and community centers, you are our partners in the fight to end hunger in Southwest Texas.
According to Hunger in America 2010: San Antonio and Southwest Texas, 91% of our pantries, 72% of our soup kitchens, and 50% of our shelters have seen an increase since 2006 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites.
As we grow and expand our operation at the San Antonio Food Bank to serve more families and individuals, we are also streamlining our organizational structure to better serve our partner agencies.
Our Children’s Programs, Senior Programs, and Agency Relations will now fall under the Partner Relations Division and the leadership of Erika Borrego – Director of Partner Relations.
We hope that with this restructuring, information flow will be streamlined and collaborations will be maximized in order to increase efficiencies. We know that the San Antonio Food Bank is the primary source of food for most of our partners and that they rely heavily on volunteers to fulfill their mission. Funding and volunteers are the two biggest needs.
We’d like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU for your partnership and helping us serve this community for 30 years. We will continue to effectively and efficiently serve those in need but we need you alongside us to do so!
Our busy fall season is only a few short months away, but the San Antonio Food Bank would like to report of some very successful spring and summer events.
This year, our local Letter Carriers collected over 800,000 pounds of food on Saturday, May 8th. Thank you to all the letter carriers and postal employees that helped make this a great success and to all of you who left your donation by your mailbox that morning.
As to our 6th Annual Golf Tournament, Doing Good on the Green, we SOLD OUT! We exceeded our goal and raised more than $40,000 to help support our many programs. Thank you to all our sponsors and players that participated. The date is already set for next year – June 9, 2011. Be sure to reserve your spot today.
SA Goes Orange
Through the month of September
To kick of the fall, as part of Feeding America’s national awareness campaign, Hunger Action Month, the San Antonio Food Bank’s SA Goes Orange presented by Whataburger offers you the opportunity to make a difference. Launching on September 1st and continuing throughout the month, companies and individuals alike will join efforts to raise funds and awareness for hunger relief. Everyone in San Antonio and our surrounding area will have an opportunity to engage in an activity that will help build awareness about hunger and help end it.
Harvest of Hope
The Harvest of Hope Brunch and Silent Auction is the San Antonio Food Bank’s Premier Fundraising Event. Harvest of Hope is a tasting event; Guests are invited to sample signature dishes prepared by San Antonio’s finest Chefs, Restaurants, Hotels and Catering Companies while listening to live music and bidding on San Antonio’s most sought-after items in the Silent Auction.