Central Texas Food Bank and Boys & Girls Club of the Austin Area Kick Off Expanded Citywide Summer Meal Program

 The Food Bank’s summer campaign more than doubles its meal output, aims to close the meal gap for children during the summer months when school is not in session

Austin, TX, June 11, 2024–Central Texas Food Bank (CTFB) and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area (BGCAA) celebrated the official launch of CTFB’s citywide summer meal program to ensure children have access to nutritious food all summer long. In partnership with the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Food Bank’s Summer Food Service Program runs from June 3 through August 9 this year. Children ages 18 and younger throughout Austin and surrounding areas can get free, nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks at more than 90 sites in Bastrop, Coryell, Hays, McLennan, Travis and Williamson counties to ensure they have the nourishment they need to build bright futures.

BGCAA is one of several partners throughout the Austin area that distribute the Food Bank’s summer meals. Sari Vatske, CTFB President & CEO and Zenae Campbell, BGCAA CEO shared remarks at today’s event held at BGCAA’s Home Club, which serves approximately 180 meals and snacks per day. In total, CTFB will provide approximately 500 meals and snacks daily to five different Boys & Girls Club sites across Austin.

“We thank the Central Texas Food Bank for their partnership, especially as we know so many youth in our community are experiencing much higher rates of food insecurity this summer. And we are honored that our Clubs, which are located throughout the community, can provide youth with a supportive space to come and receive a nutritious meal,” said Zenae Campbell, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area. “As the cost of living in Austin continues to rise, while benefits for families like the Summer-EBT program are cut at the state level, we must all work together to ensure that our kids have access to the healthy foods they need to grow and thrive.”

During the summer months, families often face increased need, and organizations like CTFB and BGCAA play a crucial role in providing healthy meals for children when school is not in session. In light of Texas being among several states choosing not to implement the Summer-EBT program this year, a federal nutrition assistance initiative that assists low-income parents in purchasing groceries during the summer, CTFB has doubled the number of Summer Food Service Program sites it serves and tripled the number of meals provided this year. CTFB remains committed to closing the meal gap for children in its 21-county service area and will continue to advocate for the adoption of Summer EBT in Texas next year.

“Throughout the summer, families face a triple threat of replacing free and reduced-price meals children would receive at school, paying the increased costs of cooling a home, and paying for childcare during the day. These realities, compounded by the increased cost of living and reduction of other available federal benefits, make this summer a particularly difficult one,” said Sari Vatske, CEO and President of Central Texas Food Bank. “At a time when kids should only worry about playing with their friends, unfortunately, hunger doesn’t take a summer break. The good news is that the Food Bank doesn’t either, which is why we’re increasing our output of meals this summer, thanks to the generosity of the community and partners like Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area.” 

Today’s special kickoff event served to raise awareness for the summer meal program and the launch of CTFB’s campaign to raise critical summer funding and recruit volunteers needed to support summer programming efforts. More information on the Food Bank’s summer meal program can be found at centraltexasfoodbank.org/SFSP. 


About Central Texas Food Bank

The mission of Central Texas Food Bank is to nourish hungry people and lead the community in the fight against hunger. Founded in 1981, the Food Bank provides food and grocery products through a network of nearly 250 nonprofit community partners and nutrition programs, serving about 70,000 people every week. Headquartered in Austin, the Food Bank serves 21 counties in Central Texas, an area about twice the size of Massachusetts. For more information on the Food Bank and its programs, visit centraltexasfoodbank.org.

About Boys & Girls Club of the Austin Area

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area (BGCAA) is Austin’s leading out-of-school time youth development agency, currently serving 2,893 registered members and engaging children ages 6 to 18 at 25 locations (and growing) in Travis and Bastrop Counties, including the Home Club on the Sheth Family Campus. Operating since 1967, BGCAA employs a formula for impact rooted in quality programming and services in academic success, character and leadership, and healthy lifestyles. Club youth participate in high-impact development programs that, when compared to non-Club youth, result in better school attendance, better grades, higher graduation rates and a better likelihood of attending college. Through support from local individuals, businesses and BGCAA Staff, Club youth are given the tools and opportunities to create great futures. Learn more at www.bgcaustin.org.

B-roll from the event, including interviews soundbites from Sari Vatske, CTFB President & CEO and Zenae Campbell, BGCAA CEO can be found here.