Smaller nonprofits continue to keep clients fed despite pandemic challenges


AUSTIN (KXAN) —As Austin grows, so do the needs of families facing food insecurity.
But some smaller Austin nonprofits are stepping up in a big way to help.

“It saves us money,” said Joyce Kelley about an organization she uses, Serafina. “It helps us by providing canned goods and prepared meals.”

Serafina is just one of the many nonprofits in Austin working to keep people fed. Serafina’s focus is homebound seniors.

“We run a pantry and grow food in the east Austin area,” said Farah Rivera, who runs Serafina.
“It is very difficult for a person an individual who has never had to ask for this to come forward and say hey I need food.”

Another nonprofit, Keep Austin Fed, works with Serafina and 74 other organizations.
Lisa Barden leads the organization.

“We are a food rescue organization,” Barden said. “So, we go collect surplus food.”

From grocery stores to licensed restaurants, anything that can be spared and is still edible is passed on and doesn’t go to waste.

“We don’t have any storage facilities, we take the food directly from where we pick it up and take it directly to recipient organization,” Barden said.

“They provide between a third and half of the food we receive then redistribute,” Rivera said.

In 2019 Keep Austin Fed distributed about 800,000 pounds of food. In 2020 that number dropped to about 600 thousand pounds. With less people eating out some restaurants were ordering less, which means less food for Keep Austin Fed to pick up, but they still managed to keep their clients fed.

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