Reviewing a year that’s just passed is always a bittersweet experience at the Food Bank. As leaders of the largest hunger relief charity in Central Texas, we take pride in everything our team and volunteers accomplished in distributing an all-time record 31 million pounds of food to our neighbors in need. We are so thankful for the generous support of the many caring individuals, community groups, businesses, foundations and partners that enable us to give hope to the people who count on us every day. But there is still a great deal to do. Feeding America’s “Hunger in America 2014” study, released in August, offered a snapshot of the nearly 46,000 clients we serve weekly, showing that forty percent of our clients are among the most vulnerable: children and seniors. It also contradicted traditional stereotypes in pointing out that the vast majority of our clients are not homeless and that the working poor are turning to the Food Bank in large numbers.
Our team worked hard in 2014 to find creative new ways to meet the growing need. We successfully piloted a Kids BackPack program designed to provide weekend meals for children in low-income families and we’re expanding the program to serve even more kids this year. And we awarded our first capacity building grants that provide matching funds so Partner Agencies can purchase equipment to store fresh and frozen foods. In addition, we grew our food rescue program to an incredible 16 million pounds. But despite our best efforts, there is still a significant hunger gap in Central Texas — one that’s growing at nearly twice the rate of the general population. We know Central Texas has the resources, but we don’t have the capacity we need to take in and distribute the additional food that’s needed to meet the growing demand.
That’s why we launched the 10x10 Campaign for a Hunger-Free Community in September to complete the fundraising necessary for a new facility and expanded infrastructure that will help us close the gap. You can find out more about our plans at CAFB10x10.com. Thank you for your dedication to the goal of building a hunger-free community. We are confident that with your continued help, that goal is within reach.