AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Central Texas Food Bank just launched a new initiative at its south Austin location to make fresh produce and shelf-stable food easily accessible to Central Texans experiencing food insecurity.

The onsite emergency food pantry is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The food bank held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning. City Council Member Vanessa Fuentes attended.

The pantry will provide a healthy mix of fresh and shelf-stable food, including produce grown at the Food Bank’s own garden.

Central Texas Food Bank, or CTFB, said in a press release that the pantry will offer much more than food. After accessing the food pantry, the food bank will also provide additional support services and programs to those who need them.

CTFB has recently experienced an uptick in first-time visitors as the COVID-induced boost to SNAP benefits end this month, according to CTFB.

Food Bank staff will utilize a case management model to support those who may qualify for federal nutrition programs, like SNAP and other benefits that offer empowerment and stability to those in need.

“The launch of this resource is the first of many new initiatives coming this year as part of our refreshed strategic direction,” said Sari Vatske, President & CEO of the Central Texas Food Bank. “It is critical as we expand access to nutritious food that we are also elevating the quality of services to those we serve.”

The pantry will also offer consultation with key Food Bank staff for educating visitors on additional services and provide support in navigating the process.