The Capital Area Food Bank of Texas has received a new refrigerated truck that will help secure more nutritious food for families in need, thanks to a $117,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation. The truck is one of eight vehicles that Walmart has given to Feeding America food banks across eight states and will serve a vital role in the fight against hunger here in Central Texas.
The 24-foot box truck will be dedicated to picking up food donated by retailers throughout the Food Bank’s 21-county service area. Although a great deal of food is generally available for donation from these retailers, the Food Bank’s transportation fleet is stretched beyond its capacity, which means that thousands of pounds of food that could go to Central Texans in need ends up in landfills.
“Last year, the Food Bank rescued nearly 16 million pounds of food from our retail store donation partners,” said Hank Perret, President and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. “Even though this was our highest yearly total for food rescue, it still fell short of helping us meet the demand for food assistance in Central Texas. Adding trucks to the Food Bank’s fleet is the most critical element in ensuring that this food gets to the people who need it most.”
The Food Bank estimates that this new vehicle will enable them to rescue an additional two million pounds of food each year, 30% of which will be fresh, perishable food, such as fruits and vegetables, that are especially critical to providing a nutritious, balanced diet for many low income families.
Since 2008, the Walmart Foundation has invested in more than 170 refrigerated vehicles so Feeding America food banks can get more food to Americans struggling with hunger. This is the first time the Capital Area Food Bank has received a Walmart grant that funds the entire cost of a vehicle of this size.
Funding for the truck comes at a time of particular need as food insecurity remains high throughout Central Texas. More than 1 in 6 Central Texans and nearly 1 in 4 Central Texas children are at risk of hunger. Both figures are above the national average and the percentage of people who are hungry or at risk of hunger is growing at nearly double the growth rate of the overall population.
About Capital Area Food Bank of Texas: The mission of Capital Area Food Bank of Texas (CAFB) is to nourish hungry people and lead the community in ending hunger. Founded in 1981, CAFB provides food and grocery products through a network of 300 Partner Agencies and nutrition programs, serving nearly 46,000 people every week. Headquartered in Austin, CAFB serves 21 counties in Central Texas, an area about twice the size of Massachusetts. For more information on CAFB and its programs, visit www.austinfoodbank.org.
About Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s commitment to fighting hunger: Through their long standing commitment to fighting hunger, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation provide donations of both food and funds to Feeding America and its nationwide network of food banks. The Capital Area Food Bank is one of nearly 200 Feeding America members that currently receive product donations from local Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs.
This year, Walmart announced it met and exceeded its $2 billion commitment made in 2010 to fight U.S. hunger, a full year earlier than projected. As of January 2014, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have donated 1.58 billion pounds of food, the equivalent of approximately 1.32 billion meals, and have awarded $260 million in grants to hunger relief programs in the United States, exceeding their original commitment by four percent.