Central Texas Food Bank Mobile Pantry to Serve Temple Veterans
The Central Texas Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, has partnered with the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System to implement its second mobile food pantry site specifically for veterans. The new food distribution site is located at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System in Temple, and will take place on the fourth Thursday of each month from 9:00-11:00 A.M.
This expansion of the Food Bank’s mobile pantry service for veterans is part of the Veterans Pantry Pilot (VPP) program from Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The program provides food assistance to veterans onsite at VA Medical Centers.
By taking food directly to clients, mobile food pantries fill geographic and service gaps in food assistance by providing those in need with basic staples, fruits and vegetables. Last year, the Central Texas Food Bank’s mobile pantry program provided a total of 2,655,276 pounds of food to 55,609 households throughout its 21 county service area.
Nationally, 20 percent of the households supported by Feeding America have a member who is a veteran or has served in the U.S. military. An estimated 25 percent of households served by the Central Texas Food Bank report that someone in their household has served in the US Armed Forces or as a member of the military Reserve or National Guard.
“We are so happy to be able to further expand our services to America’s veterans,” said Derrick Chubbs, president & CEO of the Central Texas Food Bank. “It’s an honor to be able to give back to those who have given so much to this country and we thank Feeding America and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for working with us to establish our second mobile food pantry specifically for veterans.”
The Feeding America network of 200 food banks provides food assistance to every county in the U.S. Through VPP, local food banks partner with VA Medical Centers to establish onsite pantries, if space allows, or coordinate mobile pantry distributions.
Feeding America has been coordinating with the VA since 2016 to develop and advance the VPP. The Central Texas Food Bank’s first VPP mobile pantry food distribution began at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic in August of 2017, and has served 2,345 clients in need since its inception.
“The Food Pantry is improving food security of our nation’s veterans and their families,” explained Celia Feller, Social Worker with Central Texas Veterans Health Care System. “VA is committed to veterans having access to healthy food.”
To build capacity and ensure success of the VPP program, Feeding America and the VA host joint meetings with all VPP participants to support local partnerships and gather key learnings. Additionally, individualized technical assistance has been provided for VPP sites, upon request.
Currently, eleven VPP sites are active nationally, including the two operated by the Central Texas Food Bank, with additional pantries going live around the nation on an ongoing basis.
The Central Texas Food Bank’s VPP mobile food pantry for veterans in Temple is held the fourth Thursday of each month, from 9:00 to 11:00 A.M. at 1901 Veterans Memorial Drive. The next food distribution is scheduled for Thursday, January 25.
The mission of Central Texas Food Bank is to nourish hungry people and lead the community in the fight against hunger. Founded in 1981, the Food Bank provides food and grocery products through a network of nearly 260 Partner Agencies and nutrition programs, serving nearly 46,000 people every week. Headquartered in Austin, the Food Bank serves 21 counties in Central Texas, an area about twice the size of Massachusetts. For more information on the Food Bank and its programs, visit centraltexasfoodbank.org.