Due to inflation and increased housing, utility, transportation, and healthcare costs, food banks are seeing a major increase in food demand. Two-thirds of the families that seek aid through the Central Texas Food Bank reported that they had to choose between buying food and paying for housing in the past year, and four out of five families said they had to choose between food and medicine.
Rising costs have spurred more families to seek assistance but that’s not all – food banks are also experiencing a decline in regular donations. Donnie VanAckeren, president and CEO of the Galveston County Food Bank in Texas, explained that those who are usually fortunate enough to provide donations are having to reallocate that spending to cover their own cost of living. That, coupled with increased prices, has led food banks to struggle with accumulating enough inventory to help all those in need.
STRATA’s Austin employees were eager to participate in a volunteering event at the Central Texas Food Bank. On July 13, 2022, the nine volunteers were divided into several groups at the Warehouse facility, each with various duties. Instead of preparing and distributing food, STRATA volunteers were focused on the operational aspects of the charity organization—one volunteer group oversaw quality control and distribution of boxes, another was tasked with accounting for throwaway food items, and others managed weight and volume of water pallets. These efforts help the Central Texas Food Bank prepare to distribute donations to Partner Agencies and the families they serve.
Ultimately, the efforts of STRATA’s volunteers will benefit thousands of Austin-area neighbors who are low-income, homeless, or simply food insecure. The experience provided our team members with a unique opportunity to organize, reach goals, and build team relationships while making a difference in the local Austin community.
The Central Texas Food Bank is a 501(c)(3) organization that works with food donors, financial supporters, and volunteers to fulfill unmet food needs in Texas. Nearly 54 million meals were served to the community last year thanks to the help of all those involved. There are several ways to get involved in the efforts of the Central Texas Food Bank. Volunteer locations include mobile food pantries, the warehouse facility, the community kitchen, the garden, and the food bank offices. Learn more about the Central Texas Food Bank, and who and how they serve, by visiting their website.
A National Need
Feeding America found in a recent survey that nearly 80 percent of U.S. food banks are being impacted by both an influx of families seeking assistance and a decrease in donated resources. Anti-hunger organizations and food banks across the country are in need of support now more than ever. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities or need assistance, Feeding America resources can help you connect with a food bank in your area.