Forklift and pallet lift operators such as Gabriel Zarate and other warehousemen are the movers and shakers at the San Antonio Food Bank (SAFB) headquarters facility in San Antonio TX, on Monday, October 31, 2011. These are pallets of canned goods; fruit juices or dry beans have been provided through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodities Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and are being unloaded for rack storage in the background. SAFB is a non-profit organization that serves as a clearinghouse by receiving and storing truckloads of donated food, produce, and other grocery products in. These lifts load and stack most of the '...more than 44 million pounds of food, produce, and grocery products. These products are distributed over 500 human service agencies that help southwest Texans in 16 counties. By partnering with SAFB, these agencies save more than $70 million in food purchase costs. These values represent almost 4.6 million meals per month going to 40,000 poor and hungry families in the San Antonio area,'
according to SAFB. âWe couldnât do what we do without our partnership with USDAââ said President and CEO Eric Cooper. He continues, âWe are privileged in partnering (with the USDA) to feeding kids, through the summer, with the Summer Food Service Program, and throughout the year, with the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP). Then in our approach to feeding seniors, we partner with USDA in the CSFP, and the Senior Farmerâs Market (Nutrition) Program. And then work to bring all our (needy) parties together with our Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Outreach. You know, once families have access to food we believe it is important to educate them. Through the support of the SNAP-Education Program we are able to educate them during their time of need. With this comprehensive approach we are really able to get the right food, at the right amount, at the right time, to needy families throughout our community â which allows us to feed the fifty-eight thousand we do, each week.â
SAFB serves 16 counties in Southwest Texas and states, âNearly one out of every four children and one out of every five adults in Southwest Texas lives in poverty and has difficulty meeting basic nutritional needs.â According to SAFB, sixty-five percent of the people requesting emergency food have children. âAdditionally, the senior citizens and those living on a fixed income generally have limited funds for a consistent grocery budget.â
San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the nation with surrounding farms and ranches near its rivers and water supplies. When available they provide fresh surplus produce. Other commodities come from the food industry and manufacturers. The major food brand companies that for various reasons have surplus commodities donate it to SAFB.
The United States Department of Agriculture donates commodities through programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), while Texas farmers supply fresh produce to their Fresh Produce Program.
Public donations come in the form of money, food, volunteer time, and advocacy. USDA photo by Lance Cheung
April 28, 2014