Twenty years ago Larry drove trucks for a living. A terrible rollover accident caused him to break his neck and back, and it almost cost him his right arm. He went from being independent and having a job to not being able to work and moving in with relatives because he could no longer afford rent with his disability benefits.
To make it through the month, he relies on help from the Food Bank’s special senior programs.
In association with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), we have been able to provide more support for low-income adults over 60 through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) since February, 2017.
The program provides older adults like Larry a 25-to-30 pound box of food specially designed to meet the needs of our older neighbors.
Each month, TDA orders food from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that is procured from American farmers and manufacturers to send to the Food Bank.
Once the food arrives, the boxes are assembled by volunteers in our warehouse and distributed monthly at 40 sites across our 21 county service territory. Though the contents of the boxes vary each month, it always includes cereals, juices, proteins, peanut butter or dry beans, milk, grains, cheese, and canned fruits and vegetables.
“The Food Bank really helps. Every little bit helps,” Larry said.
Last year, we received enough food to distribute 2,000 boxes across Central Texas and are ramping up distribution to 2,404 boxes by the end of the year.
Though Larry is healthy enough to be able to stand in line for about an hour to receive his box at the Gus Garcia Recreation Center, not all of our clients can do the same. Some do not have transportation. Others suffer from health problems that prevent them from standing in line or leaving their house.
For the first time, the Food Bank is able to distribute the boxes of food right to the doors of homebound seniors to ensure our older neighbors receive the help they need.
At 12 of our sites, a staff member delivers the boxes door-to-door to seniors living in low-income housing communities.
With summer right around the corner, higher utility bills force seniors to make tough budget choices, making money for nutritious food hard to come by. The CSFP program allows the Food Bank to serve some of the most vulnerable Central Texans during their greatest need, even if they can’t leave their homes.