Guiding Central Texans Towards Food Security Through Benefits Assistance


At the Central Texas Food Bank, our mission to end hunger is powered by a team of dedicated individuals who consistently go above and beyond in their roles. We are proud to honor Rachael Harmel, a Benefits Assistance Coordinator, as our Team Member of the Month. 

Before joining the Food Bank, Rachael worked as an insurance agent and a caretaker for a person with an intellectual disability. Volunteering at the Food Bank sparked a passion for nonprofit work, leading her to pursue a career that offers fulfillment and directly impacts her community. "I love the clients. I love the interaction I get on a daily basis with clients from so many different backgrounds, so many different cultures. It's very rewarding work," Rachael shares. With a background that includes living in various parts of Texas and Guatemala, Rachael developed a strong command of Spanish, which has proven invaluable in her interactions with neighbors. "I love being able to connect with community members in their native language and be exposed to the experiences of other people," she says. 

As a Benefits Assistance Coordinator, Rachael plays a crucial role in helping neighbors navigate the complexities of state benefits applications such as food stamps and Medicaid. Her deep sense of responsibility and care is evident in her approach, always prioritizing the needs of our neighbors. Rachael's ability to connect with neighbors on a personal level, understand their struggles and provide tailored assistance has earned her high regard from her team members. "Rachael not only does her job with grace, but the attention she gives every person she encounters makes them feel heard. She will go above and beyond to make sure you get the best possible customer service," shares Micaela Rodriguez, a fellow Benefits Assistance Coordinator. 

Rachael's exceptional dedication to serving neighbors is particularly evident in her work at homelessness response shelters. One of her notable experiences involved connecting a neighbor with housing resources. A year later, that neighbor returned with secured housing, seeking benefits application assistance. This full-circle moment is a testament to Rachael's unwavering resolve to provide comprehensive support for neighbors to rebuild their lives. 

Rachael is committed to innovation and problem-solving, consistently seeking new ways to address common issues neighbors face and strategically analyzing ways to improve our services. Her passion for service is evident in every aspect of her work, and she finds immense satisfaction in helping neighbors navigate their struggles and improve their lives. "It's just really rewarding to know when you have the context of somebody's struggle, that you're doing something to try to get them into a better place in their life, to try to help their families, to feed their kids," she says.

Rachael's deep empathy for those she serves makes her an invaluable Central Texas Food Bank team member. We’re looking for highly motivated people to bring their unique skills to our mission of nourishing our neighbors and strengthening the Central Texas food system. Join our team!