Monthly food distribution program is part of new partnership with Feeding America® and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
AUSTIN – September 22, 2017 – Feeding America®, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, recently announced a new partnership with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that will help men and women who have served this country. The new Veterans Pantry Pilot (VPP) program provides food assistance to veterans onsite at VA Medical Centers. Locally, the Central Texas Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, is partnering with the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System to operate a VPP Mobile Food Pantry site at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic at 7901 Metropolis Drive, Austin 78744.
By taking food directly to clients, mobile food pantries fill geographic and service gaps in food assistance by providing those in need with basic staples, fruits and vegetables. Last year, the Central Texas Food Bank’s Mobile Pantry program provided a total of 2,495,248 pounds of food to 56,191 households throughout its 21 county service area.
Nationally, 20 percent of the households supported by Feeding America have a member who is a veteran or has served in the U.S. military. An estimated 25 percent of households served by the Central Texas Food Bank report that someone in their household has served in the US Armed Forces or as a member of the military Reserve or National Guard.
“We are so proud to be a part of this program that serves America’s veterans,” said Derrick Chubbs, president & CEO of the Central Texas Food Bank. “It’s an honor to be able to give back to those who have given so much to this country and we thank Feeding America and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for working with us to make this program a reality.”
The Feeding America network of 200 food banks provides food assistance to every county in the U.S. Through VPP, local food banks will partner with VA Medical Centers to establish onsite pantries, if space allows, or coordinate mobile pantry distributions.
Feeding America has been coordinating with the VA since 2016 to develop and advance the VPP. The Central Texas Food Bank conducted its first mobile pantry food distribution at the Austin VA in August, serving 178 clients in need.
“The Food Pantry is a resource for Veterans in need of access to food,” explained Olawale O. Fashina, MD, MHSA, CPE, Chief of Staff, Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, “this partnership shows the commitment Central Texas has for taking care of Veterans.”
To build capacity and ensure success of the VPP program, Feeding America and the VA host joint meetings with all VPP participants to support local partnerships and gather key learnings. Additionally, individualized technical assistance has been provided for VPP sites, upon request.
Currently, ten VPP sites are active, including Austin, with additional pantries going live by the end of the year.
The Central Texas Food Bank’s VPP Mobile Food Pantry is held the fourth Thursday of each month, from 9:00 to 11:00 A.M. The next food distribution is scheduled for Tuesday, September 26.
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About the 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 260 Partner Agencies and nutrition programs, serving nearly 46,000 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 Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the Unites States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 46 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
About Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Veterans Affairs runs programs benefiting veterans and members of their families. It offers education opportunities and rehabilitation services and provides compensation payments for disabilities or death, related to military service, home loan guaranties, pensions, burials, and health care, which includes the services of nursing homes, clinics and medical centers.
Central Texas Veterans Health Care System