The United States Department of Agriculture donates commodities through programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which the San Antonio Food Bank (SAFB) packages and palletizes them for fast distribution from its San Antonio, TX., headquarters, on Monday, October 31, 2011. SAFB is a non-profit organization that serves as a clearinghouse by receiving and storing truckloads of donated food, produce, and other grocery products, they then distributes these items to over 500 service agencies that help people in need.
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 Commodities Supplemental Food Program (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.
Texas farmers supply fresh produce to their Fresh Produce Program.
Public donations come in the form of money, food, volunteer time, and advocacy.
Their fleet of trucks pickup and deliver food as needed.
USDA photo by Lance Cheung.
May 2, 2014