San Antonio Collegeâs Armando Deleon searches for the best of the high quality pumpkins in the San Antonio Food Bankâs (SAFB) Agency Storeâs walk-in refrigerator, in San Antonio, TX, on Monday, October 31, 2011. The pumpkins will go to the Phi Beta Kappa Food Pantry, and are perfect for a needy studentâs recipes. The produce here comes from several sources to include the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service.
The San Antonio College community volunteered at the San Antonio Food Bank during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Out of that experience their Honors Society created the Phi Beta Kappa Food Pantry to serve communities at their campuses. The food bank helped them design food orders that catered the studentâs needs. Because many ride the bus, bicycle or walk to the campus they required easy to carry weekly packages of food, also food need to meet their tastes, be easy to prepare, and nutritious to support their life style, time demands and level of activity.
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. â¦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.
May 7, 2014