Food Bank Supports Family Struggling with Rising Costs


At 2 years old and the youngest of three, Mateo gets to ride along as his mom, Mayra, heads to the local food distribution in their neighborhood.

Mayra and her husband are both working parents to their three children, Pablo, 11, Camila, 7, and Mateo, 2. While Mayra is able to work remotely, her husband’s work in construction often demands long commutes to and from his job sites. “Living in Austin, especially with construction—anywhere you move, you have to drive,” Mayra says of her husband’s work. “And with gas prices, it’s definitely something that you see affecting everybody.” The assistance their family is able to receive from the Food Bank helps provide some relief in the face of rising gas prices and grocery bills. “So [we appreciate] anything that can help supplement that to really allow for a little bit more wiggle room, especially with summer coming up .”

Summertime can be tough for many Central Texas families whose children receive free meals during the school year. Mayra’s children are fortunate enough to attend a school where all students receive free lunch. Come summer, she and her family benefit from free food assistance like the Central Texas Food Bank provides to help support their household.

But it’s not just her own household that benefits from Mayra's attendance at her local mobile pantry. She also helps her parents by picking up food for them. “My parents are older and my dad is still working, but my mom hasn’t been able to work due to illness,” Mayra says. In the fall of 2021, Mayra’s mother fell ill and had to stop working. “She went through a lot. It took them a while to finally diagnose [her.]” After a number of hospital stays, doctor visits and a weeklong coma, her mother is now in much better health. But with only her father’s income to support them both and the added medical bills, food from the mobile pantry is a welcome relief for Mayra’s parents.

Working in the health care industry herself, Mayra has seen a lot of folks struggle over the last couple of years, and she doesn’t hesitate to offer support in any way she can. “I send a lot of patients to the Food Bank. I let them know about other resources in the area as well, and I utilize it myself,” she says. “It’s always nice to have that information and be able to pass it on, because everybody’s needing it right now.”