Southwest Key Fights Hunger in Central Texas

July 11, 2011 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Hunger.  You’ve probably seen pictures of it in magazines and on the news: the gaunt and emaciated faces of men and women, children whose legs are no thicker than your wrist.  Too often we think of it as a third-world tragedy, a dilemma to be addressed by international aid organizations and our occasional donations.  But hunger exists here in America too, and is closer and more prevalent than we often realize.  Though you might not be able to tell just by looking at them, thousands of men, women, and children in Central Texas are suffering every day.

The Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) has long been fighting the battle against hunger in Central Texas.  And now, Southwest Key has become a major player in this fight as well.  Southwest Key has been a “Wheels of Sharing” Mobile Food Pantry distribution site for the CAFB every second Friday of the month since December 2010.  On the first distribution day, the Southwest Key site served 722 individuals for a total of 6,124 pounds of food.  Since then, the numbers have more than doubled, and as of June 2011, Southwest Key is officially the largest site in Austin.  The most recent distribution day served 374 households for a total of 1462 individuals, of which 235 were new recipients at our site.  In all, 12,349 pounds of food were distributed to those in need.

The “Wheels of Sharing” program provides additional food assistance in areas that are not within a convenient distance from a food bank location and/or lacks CAFB service.  Among the foods provided are basic staples such as bread and pasta, fruits and vegetables, meat, potatoes, soup, and some frozen foods.  In addition to receiving food, CAFB staff also offer guests help in applying for food stamps and other federal assistance programs.  And the Mobile Food Pantry is not your typical food truck.  Each vehicle operated by the CAFB has awnings to shade volunteers and food recipients, additional lighting for distribution past dark, electricity, and multi-temperature controlled storage facility for food.

According to the Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report, approximately 48,000 people receive food assistance from CAFB in any given week.  Of these, 41% are children, and nearly half of CAFB’s clients must choose between purchasing food and paying for utilities.  The “Wheels of Sharing” Mobile Food Pantry offers an invaluable food resource for those in need.  Through this program, CAFB has taken a substantial step towards addressing the hunger problem that faces Central Texans.  Southwest Key is proud to be a Mobile Food Pantry distribution site and we hope to continue to increase the number of people served at our location.

– Kelle Kampa
Communications Intern
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Entry filed under: Community Resource, Community Service, Community Support, East Austin, Govalle/Johnston Terrace Neighborhood, Partners, Southwest Key Programs, Volunteering.

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