AUSTIN (KXAN) — The need for food in Central Texas is critical. On Wednesday, hundreds of cars filled the parking lot of LBJ Early College High School in northeast Austin for one of Central Texas Food Bank’s mass distribution events.
“We’re all in this together,” said one person waiting in line. “We’re all suffering. This is affecting everybody.”
On a regular week, the food bank feeds close to 50,000 people, but since the pandemic began the food bank has experienced a spike in demand.
“In Travis County, we saw a 207% increase during the month of March,” CEO and President of Central Texas Food Bank Derrick Chubbs told KXAN.
That’s an additional 22,000 people the food bank served in March compared to February.
The Central Texas Food Bank was able to feed 1,562 families during Wednesday’s food distribution. Inside the boxes handed out, the food bank gave out 28 pounds of food. Items included canned meat, canned beans, canned fruit and rice as well as hygiene supplies.
Food bank leaders expect the need to continue growing. It’s a need Ana Ramirez knows all too well.
“It’s very difficult because there are a lot of us who don’t have enough food,” she said.
The mother of three stays home to take care of her boys while her husband works, but Ramirez said that’s it’s simply not enough. They depend on the food bank to survive.
“That’s why we come to these distributions,” she said. “Now I have enough food for a week or two.”
With no means of transportation, Ramirez showed up on foot pushing a stroller with her youngest, a two-year-old, and her three-year-old and five-year-old in tow. Ramirez said her family has a vehicle but her husband depends on it for transportation to and from work. Another woman also in need of food took the bus.
“Don’t be embarrassed,” Ramirez said and added there is no shame in asking for help when you need it.
“I’m happy because I got food — thank you,” she said.
The next mass distribution event will take place at 9 a.m., April 20 at Del Valle High School. It is a drive-thru event for safety reasons during this pandemic.
KXAN is helping raise money for the food bank. Just one dollar can provide four meals.