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The Central Texas Food Bank is conducting another mass food distribution event Thursday at the Smile Direct Facility at 300 Vista Ridge Drive in Kyle from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pictured above and below, CTXFB volunteers help distribute food at a recent mass distribution event at the  Toney Burger Center in Austin on May 28. Photos courtesy of Central Texas Food Bank

Central Texas Food Bank expects 1,600 families at Thursday distribution

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Central Texas Food Bank is conducting another mass food distribution event Thursday at the Smile Direct Facility at 300 Vista Ridge Drive in Kyle from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

This will be the 20th special mass distribution event that has been scheduled to help those who are facing increased food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis. 

Their first event in Kyle served 1,416 families and they are prepared to serve close to 1,600 families so they don’t have to turn away anyone who needs food, said Paul Gaither, marketing and communications director for CTXFB.

Attendee numbers have been declining recently at mass distribution events, said Gaither, which is a good sign for the community and CTXFB’s strained resources, but the numbers are still significant. 

Across their 21 county service area, the number of households they have served has increased by 39% and the number of households receiving food for the first time has increased by 220% since January. 

With skyrocketing demand and food donations decreasing by 80%, the Central Texas Food Bank needs monetary donations more than ever. 

The supply chain has not quite recovered from the huge demand for food sparked by the pandemic, resulting in empty shelves across the nation, and consequently the large retailers, manufacturers and distributors they normally receive  donations from have not been able to keep fueling donations to meet CTXFB’s needs.

CTXFB resorted to purchasing food at retail price or near retail price to keep up with the community demand. Monetary donations give them the flexibility to purchase food by whatever means available. To donate, visit centraltexasfoodbank.org and click on “donate”.

By revamping their packaging and distribution process, CTXFB has been able to serve families across their 21 county service area as much as their resources allow. 

The Central Texas community has provided much needed monetary and volunteer support during this time to support the massive operation of feeding families in need.

“We have got this down to a science. It's a different time, and people are having to do things differently to make do,” said Gaither.

These “mobile pantries on steroids” as Gaither called them, involve widespread volunteers pre-packaging boxes all over the Austin area largely from church groups, and converting their normal walk-through process to a drive-through process.

Families can line up their cars to receive one box of assorted produce, 1-2 gallons of milk, one protein box weighing 8-20 pounds and/or an emergency box of shelf-stable items as available. CTXFBasks that only families who are facing true food insecurity attend the event due to stretched resources. 

In addition to these special mass distributions, Central Texans can also access food through their network of partner pantries and mobile food pantry distributions throughout Central Texas. For the latest information on getting help, go to centraltexasfoodbank.org and click on “Find Food Now.” Once you find the distribution site nearest you, call them to confirm their hours of operation since things are changing rapidly. You can also call 2-1-1 for the latest information.

Anyone interested in volunteering at this event or future events can sign up at centraltexasfoodbank.org, and click on “volunteer” to sign up.

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