Popular food pantry to close its doors

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Capital Area Food Bank of Texas will close the doors at its food pantry next week. The food pantry on East St. Johns in Central Austin has served needy families in the neighborhood for nearly five years.

GOING IN-DEPTH // Hungry Texans

  • The Capital Area Food Bank nourishes more than 300,000 hungry Central Texans each year.
  • 34 percent of food bank recipients report having to choose between paying for medicine or healthcare and buying food.
  • More than one in four Texas children is at risk of hunger.

“Our space is up for renewal, and it is going up quite a bit in cost,” said Chief Development Officer Joanna Linden. “We feel a deep responsibility at the food bank to use donor dollars and community dollars in the most efficient way possible.”

The news worried volunteers who pour hours of time and energy into the place. They say every week people form a long outside their doors. Volunteers say they had more than 150 families this Wednesday, providing enough food to serve more than 500 people.

Linden says the good deeds won’t be jeopardized. In fact, she says the money saved will help get more food to those who need it.

“We are going to actually take our mobile food pantry truck out there that serves up to 400 families, and we are going to go twice a month,” Linden said.

She says they are changing with the times to keep up with the growing needs of our community.

The Capital Area Food Bank says it would like to open more pantries like the one it is closing, if they can make it work. The pantry on St. Johns Avenue was the only one operated directly by the food bank. The agency partners with churches and other charities to distribute their food as well.

The Capital Area Food Bank provides meals to about 300,000 people in the Austin area every year.

  • Number of years the food bank has been in operation: 32 years
  • Pounds of food and grocery products provided: 29 million
  • Total amount paid by the food recipients: $0
  • Number of meals provide: 24.5 million
  • Number of the Food Bank Partner Agencies that received food: 300
  • Territory served: 21 counties; 19,000 square miles; 2.5 million total population
  • Size of Distribution Center: 60,000 square feet
  • Size of freezers and coolers: 160,000 cubic feet
  • Number of regional delivery sites: 21
  • Number of food donors: 402
  • Largest food donor: U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Number of paid Food Bank staff: 81
  • Volunteers: 19,000
  • Volunteer hours donated: 96,000
  • Age range of Food Bank volunteers: 8 to 94 years old
  • Largest local retail donor: H-E-B Grocery Company
  • Fastest growing product area: fresh produce
  • Food items most requested by agencies’ clients: canned meats, cereal, dried pasta and pasta sauce
  • Most requested non-food item: diapers
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