Central Texas Food Bank serves 1,071 families at South Austin distribution event

The Central Texas Food Bank hosted a food distribution event in South Austin May 28. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Central Texas Food Bank hosted a food distribution event in South Austin May 28. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Central Texas Food Bank hosted a food distribution event in South Austin May 28. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Cars lined up prior to the start of the the 9 a.m. event, with the first arriving prior to 7 a.m. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Tents were set up to serve rows of cars at the Toney Burger Activity Center. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Volunteers loaded cars and trucks with groceries. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Goods included crates of milk, vegetables, fruits and non-perishable items. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Volunteers helped at the May 28 event. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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The Central Texas Food Bank hosted a food distribution event in South Austin May 28. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
For the second consecutive month, the Central Texas Food Bank distributed free boxes of food and goods to more than 1,000 families during an event at the Toney Burger Activity Center in South Austin.

Volunteers at the May 28 event filled 1,071 car trunks with items including milk, vegetables and nonperishable foods. In April, the same event drew about 1,050 vehicles, with area residents seeking groceries, according to food bank spokesperson Paul Gaither.

The Central Texas Food Bank typically serves residents through more than 60 mobile food pantries each month—serving between 120-150 families each time—as well as providing food for community partners and other area nonprofits to distribute. However, with a growing need in the community due to lost jobs or income during the coronavirus pandemic, President and CEO Derrick Chubbs said the food bank created the emergency drive-up events to reach more individuals.

“So many people are living a paycheck away from being in that line [to collect food],” he said. “We have people who have lost their jobs recently and really need that help and tell us ‘I never thought I would be here.’”

In March and April, Chubbs said the food bank saw a 200% increase in new clients using their regular resources. Some only need to pick up food once or twice a month, while others could use assistance each week.


“The face of hunger isn’t what you think,” he said. “About 70% of those who depend on us are working households. Just because you have a car doesn’t mean you have food.”

The South Austin event May 28 saw many first-time visitors, including Joe Morales, who said he learned about the event the night before online and decided to attend.

“This is the first time we’ve done this,” he said. “We needed food and our only income that is coming in now is social security.”

The final food distribution event this month will take place May 30 in Kyle at the Smile Direct Facility located at 300 Vista Ridge Drive, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Chubbs said he expects the turnout to be twice as high in Kyle as the most recent South Austin event.

The Central Texas Food Bank is working to finalize and release in the coming days a list of June drive-up distribution events, Chubbs said, and will continue to schedule emergency pick-up events while the need and resources are there.

“Even if you start working again, it takes quite a while to recover from [losing an income], and as this pandemic continues families get further and further behind,” he said.
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


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