Mobile Loaves and Fishes

Making connections with area's homeless

At Mobile Loaves and Fishes—a nonprofit headquartered at 903 S. Capital of Texas Hwy. that provides food and other items to the area's homeless—volunteers and staff members are looking to turn their meals into something more than just a way to satiate hunger.

Donna Emery, donor and communications director for MLF, said one goal of the ministry is to allow volunteers to gain a deeper understanding of the issues facing the homeless while trying to meet the needs of the homeless.

"[We want volunteers] to recognize as you spend time and serve on the trucks and you give meals and you become friends, that our friends on the streets deserve the same understanding and compassion, that we're all individuals created in His image," Emery said.

MLF has a fleet of 11 trucks in the Austin area, a total of 16 trucks throughout the nation and about 12,000 volunteers. Each truck carries about 175 meals, and this summer, the nonprofit expects to reach about 3.5 million meals served.

The nonprofit was started in 1998 by Alan Graham and five other parishioners from St. John Neumann Catholic Church. MLF became a nonprofit in 2000, and the ministry currently serves homeless individuals throughout Austin as well as in Cedar Park, Lake Travis and San Antonio.

Emery said through the program, volunteers begin to establish relationships with those they are serving. Some staff members of MLF have logged more than 175 nights sleeping on the streets as part of retreats to help them understand the needs of the community they are serving, she said.

"In that time, we've really listened to what our community needs," Emery said. "Instead of us telling them what we think they need, we listened to what they need."

Along with food, volunteers also give out other supplies such as small containers of soap and shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste and even dog and cat food.

MLF Communications Coordinator Perri Verdino-Gates said connecting with those they are serving makes the biggest difference for both the volunteers and the homeless.

"It's just connecting that they are human, that they're people also," Verdino-Gates said. "That's the main thing that we do, just make that connection. We all have stories, and they have amazing stories."

Community First!

Along with providing food and other needed items for the homeless community, Mobile Loaves and Fishes has branched out to help provide a home for the homeless.

The program Community First! started about eight years ago and currently has about 35 residents living in mobile homes. Those in the program have to pay rent, and the program has about an 86 percent success rate, said Donna Emery, MLF communications director. She said success means that once an individual moves into a house, they do not fall back into homelessness.

For more information and criteria for the program, visit www.mlf.org/community-first.

Where to find the trucks

Emery said MLF has various commissaries throughout Austin where trucks are loaded with food and dispersed into the community.

Each truck plans out its route, and Emery said those in need "know where to find us." The MLF website has a map of truck sites at www.tracker.mlf.org/datasource/maps/map/1.

Some of the commissaries include:

  • Lake Hills Church
  • Austin Ridge Bible Church
  • Riverbend Church
  • An alliance of churches downtown
  • St. Thomas More Catholic Church
  • St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Cedar Park
  • St. John Neumann Catholic Church

Mobile Loaves and Fishes, 903 S. Capital of Texas Hwy., Austin, 512-328-7299, www.mlf.org



MOST RECENT

Home construction in the Sweetwater community continues. New homes entering the market have yet to create a balanced market, according to ABoR. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
As pace of homes sold in west Travis County slows, prices remain higher than the overall metro area

The number of September homes sold in the Lake Travis-Westlake area dropped 30.7% from a year earlier.

Lake Travis ISD trustees Oct. 20 approved communication standards with other area law enforcement. (Grace Dickens/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lake Travis ISD Police Department formalizes communication, coordination with other local police entities

The Lake Travis ISD Police Department is working to educate and integrate into the community.

A calculator created by the Rocky Mountain Institute looks at the environmental impact of TxDOT's proposed designs for I-35 in Central Austin, one of the most congested roadways in the country. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Nonprofit's tool says TxDOT I-35 expansion proposals would have profound environmental consequences

The tool says that the proposal would create between 255 and 382 million additional vehicle miles traveled per year.

Photo of the Travis County administration building and sign
Travis County hears update on process to reassess master plan for aging correctional facilities

The process comes after county commissioners opted to pause all activities of the master plan over the summer.

Rodeo stock image
Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo ready to open gates Oct. 21 after coronavirus delay

After the inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo was postponed in 2020, county and fair officials said they are excited to kick off the agricultural celebration.

Renderings of the conceptual tower were shown depicting a roughly 100-foot tower, but the intent is to build a smaller tower. A total of $2.43 million was given as an estimated cost for a 100-foot gravity tower, but presenters said the cost would scale down with a smaller tower. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Early concept for Frisco’s Northwest Community Park includes biking tower for ‘gravity riding’; Perky Beans Cafe now open in Leander, and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 20.

Eanes ISD increases substitute pay. (Grace Dickens/Community Impact Newspaper)
Eanes ISD votes to increase substitute pay

The Eanes ISD board of trustees voted 5-1-1 to increase substitute pay at its Oct. 19 meeting.

The future of West Austin's Lions Municipal Golf Course depends on the outcome of a city rezoning process and its landowner, The University of Texas. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
As Austin's rezoning of UT lands continues, time could be running out for Muny course preservation

The historic golf course's future remains unclear amid a city zoning process that could ease the land's redevelopment.

Eanes ISD relaxes in-person visitation rules. (Courtesy Pexels)
Eanes ISD easing restrictions on campus activities

Eanes ISD easing restrictions in time for Veterans Day celebrations

Austin Cultural Arts Division staff provided an update on several funding opportunities for the creative sector Oct. 18. (Screenshot via city of Austin)
Austin's arts community could be in line for millions more in relief dollars this year

Additional relief for artists may be available in the coming months, while a broader review of the city's cultural funding opportunities continues.

The new venue will hold a minimum of 20,000 people, developer Craig Bryan said. (Courtesy of Craig Bryan)
More than 20,000-seat outdoor amphitheater proposed for Southwest Austin

The amphitheater would rival the Hollywood Bowl in size.