Announcing the 10×10 Campaign for a hunger-free community

September 19th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


When the current 60,000 square foot Capital Area Food Bank of Texas facility was built in 1997, it was designed for a city of fewer than 500,000 people and it was able to store and process 24 million pounds of food per year. Now, in 2014, more than a million people live in the Austin area. The Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organization in the region, with a 21-county service area, and the percentage of Central Texans who are hungry, or at risk of hunger, is growing at nearly double the rate of the overall population. 

Last year the Food Bank distributed a record 29 million pounds of food in Central Texas but still fell short of meeting the demand by 30 percent. This year the Food Bank is on pace to deliver 32 million pounds of food through its mobile pantries and nearly 300 Partner Agencies, and the demand is even greater than that. The Food Bank is not falling short due to a lack of food. It’s falling short because the hunger gap is widening and it doesn’t have the storage capacity to take in the food or the means to deliver and distribute it. 

“We’re ready for the challenge and we’re doing something about it. Today the Capital Area Food Bank is kicking off the 10×10 Campaign for a Hunger-Free Community to raise $10 million over 10 months to build a new 135,000 square foot facility capable of distributing 60 million pounds of food per year,” said Hank Perret, President and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. “This is an important step forward in fighting hunger in our community. We’ve received significant support and donations for the campaign so far, but we’re going to need everyone to come together to help make a hunger-free community a reality. Hunger is not an individual problem, it is a community problem.” 

H-E-B, the Moody Foundation, and Howard and Mary Yancy have already donated more than $1 million each to the campaign. In total, the new facility will cost more than $20 million to build and the Capital Area Food Bank has already raised nearly half of the funds. The 10×10 Campaign will raise the remaining $10 million to build a new warehouse, headquarters and infrastructure to serve the growing needs of Central Texas. The new facility will be located in the Met Center, at the Corner of Metropolis Drive and Burleson Road. 

Features of the new facility: 
- More than double the square footage of the current facility. 
- Double the warehouse space for shelf-stable foods. 
- Five times the refrigeration and freezer capacity – nearly 30 percent of the food distributed by the Food Bank in 2013 was fresh, nutritious produce. 
- A commercial production kitchen to cook meals and freeze produce, reducing food waste.
- A new half-acre teaching garden to teach families how to grow their own fruits and vegetables, and eventually, provide fresh produce for the Food Bank Partner Agencies. 
- 15 loading docks, compared to the current facility’s two loading docks. 

The campaign will also provide for three additional refrigerated transport trucks to increase capacity for food rescue and regional delivery, and three additional mobile food pantry trucks to fill the gaps in hunger relief in rural communities without access to food. 

“H-E-B has a long history of supporting food banks through our Food Bank Assistance Program, which works year-round to raise awareness and battle hunger in Texas. The Capital Area Food Bank collects donated excess inventory from more than 50 of our stores, helping turn that food into meals for people who might otherwise go without,” said Jeff Thomas, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Central Texas Region for H-E-B. “H-E-B’s donation of $1.1 million represents the largest gift ever committed by H-E-B in Central Texas in the 109-year history of our business. I have every confidence the Food Bank will work to keep our growing community free from hunger.” 

Who is hungry in Central Texas? 
- Your neighbors: 1 in 6 people in our community is hungry or at risk of hunger.
- Our kids: 1 in 4 local children don’t know the next time they’ll have a nutritious meal.
- The most vulnerable: 40 percent of the people the Food Bank serves are children or elderly.
- People who work: There is at least one employed adult in two-thirds of the households the Food Bank serves.
- People with homes: 93 percent of the people the Food Bank serves are not homeless.
- The percentage of Central Texans who are hungry, or at risk of hunger, is growing at nearly double the growth rate of the overall population. 

“The Capital Area Food Bank is extremely efficient, with 96 cents from every dollar going straight back to our mission of ending hunger,” said Mike Tomsu, Board Chairman of the Capital Area Food Bank. “Not only will the new facility allow us to vastly increase the amount of people we serve, but every $1 invested in the campaign will return $10 to the community in social impact, jobs and support. This facility will help create a better community for all Central Texans.” 

“Every donation makes a difference,” Perret said. “To achieve a hunger-free community, we need everyone to join in the fight.” 

For more information on the 10×10 Campaign for a Hunger-Free Community, including ways to contribute, visit and follow  the hashtag #cafb10x10 on Instagram and Twitter.


Area chefs to spice up Food Bank’s exclusive dinner with unique cuisines

September 15th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Jack Gilmore

Chef Jack Gilmore, photo courtesy of Jack Allen’s Kitchen

In preparation for a meal that will enlighten taste buds and bring a whole new meaning to experiencing food, father and son celebrity chefs Jack and Bryce Gilmore are joining forces with area culinary artists for a savoring experience at the Capital Area Food Bank’s exclusive Fighting Hunger Feeding Hope dinner Thursday.

Jack Gilmore, owner of Jack Allen’s Kitchen, and his son, Bryce Gilmore, owner of Barley Swine and Odd Duck, will create cuisines that will be abundant in flavor and have unique texture and visual appeal.

“We’re going to have eight great chefs throughout the city, and each one will complement each other,” Jack said. “It will be a great experience, and (attendees) will get a lot of variety.”

Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley where he was exposed to great flavors and ingredients, Jack started working in the restaurant business at the age of 15. Jack said it was when he started as a cook that he truly wanted to join the culinary world.

“Food networks and all the other media that glamorized being a cook never really appealed to me,” Jack said. “It was just learning from good people who set the standard for what a good chef was all about.”

Jack moved to Austin at 19 years old, and it is the city where he said he truly developed his more refined, serious style. Jack will use some of the same techniques in his collaboration with his son Bryce and Jack Allen’s Kitchen’s very own Chris TenEyck, Rojo Lujano, John Summer and Dee-Dee Sanchez. Other featured culinary artists include University of Texas at Austin executive chef Robert Mayberry, Moonshine and Hopdoddy’s Larry Perdido and Cover 3’s Kirk Doyle.

Thursday’s menu will include:

  • Bacon-wrapped quail with jalapeno peach jam
  • Horseradish-crusted beef tenderloin
  • Beeler’s Pure Pork bacon jam with sherry vinegar
  • Chocolate tortes with raspberry and lemon curd square bars, among other dishes.

Bryce said he is happy he will work alongside his father who has been a driving force behind his career and culinary skills.

“I like to cook what I like to eat,” Bryce said. “It’s important to embrace change and to adapt to ingredients available to you.”

Bryce said the collaboration is important to the chefs because it helps an organization that nourishes area residents who go hungry every day.

“There are a lot of issues out there when it comes to food, and we always want to help and support an organization that wants to do whatever they can to help others when it comes to food,” Bryce said.

Fighting Hunger Feeding Hope will be held from  6:30 P.M. – 10:00 P.M., Thursday, September 18, at the Capital Area Food Bank, 8201 S. Congress Ave. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at For more information, call Ann Nelson at 512-684-2542.


Bank of America and Feeding America Team up to Match Your Donations

September 12th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Thanks to Bank of America and Feeding America your gift to help end hunger in your community will go three times as far!  Now through December 31, for every $1 you give, Bank of America will give $2 more.  It’s easy to support the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas through this national campaign.  Visit this link and enter your zip code, then choose to have your donation designated to us.  You’ll also find out how many families in your area are “food insecure” which means that they are at risk of going hungry.  boa

Your donation will make an immediate impact in the health of people who just need a helping hand to put healthy food within reach.  There are some limits to this campaign so please take advantage of this opportunity today.

Thank you for your support and a big thank you to our partners in ending hunger, Bank of America and Feeding America.


Call Congress Today!

September 11th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

The Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP, is a federal program that allows us to distribute USDA commodities (meats, grains, canned fruits and veggies and more). The food provided by TEFAP is critical to our operations, providing 28 percent of the food we distribute to our Partner Agencies. Food banks and agencies serving low-income families across the nation rely on the $50 million program, funded through the Farm Bill, to keep communities healthy and prevent hunger.

We just learned that those funds may disappear, and we need you to act now.

Congress has not completed its work and will likely have to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government running past the end of the federal fiscal year. The proposed CR will likely fund the government at the previous year’s levels—before the Farm Bill was passed. That means we don’t know if the funds that help stock nearly a third of our inventory will vanish.

Please call both your senators and your representative today, September 11, and help us make sure every Member of Congress is aware of this important issue.

Calling Congress is easy! Here’s how:

  1. Call our advocacy hotline at 888-398-8702
  2. Listen to the pre-recorded message and enter your zip code when prompted.  Once you are connected, state that you are a constituent and give your name and your hometown. Be sure to let them know you are a friend of Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.
  3. Let them know you are calling about the Continuing Resolution and deliver this important message:

I am calling from about a matter of critical importance to our food bank, Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. As you finalize the Continuing Resolution, please make sure the increase in TEFAP funding from the 2014 Farm Bill is included in the final bill.

Be sure to dial back so you can speak with both of your senators and your representative.

Thank you for your advocacy! Please let us know if you have any questions.



Why Everything is Cool in Product Recovery

September 9th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


Credit: regan76 LEGO blocks (#0048) with modifications.

Are you a natural leader, ready to take charge and inspire the group? Or are you the hands-on type, eager to roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty? Maybe you’re the inspirational type, using key facts about the issue to rally your community to make change. Whatever your style, we have a volunteer opportunity at our warehouse perfect for you.

We know it takes all sorts of talents to make our warehouse operations a well-oiled machine. This month, we need more of you to keep the healthy food flowing out our door when we see a drop in volunteers.

Our community is not just “better when we stick together.”  With you lending a hand in product recovery, our community will be healthier too!

Sign up today.


#HungerAction in the Wild Photo Roundup

September 8th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Folks all over Central Texas are “going orange” to raise awareness about the hunger crisis. They’re visiting our headquarters and taking a photo in our photo booth and tagging their photos with #CAFBTX on Instagram and Twitter. Even our staff is getting into the “go orange” spirit.  Here are some of our favorites from last week. DSC_0015[1] HAM Staff Photos 014 ham1 DSC_0026




Why Selfies Matter on Weekends

September 5th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


n. (informal)

1.  a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

2. a great way to take action every Saturday and Sunday during Hunger Action Month. Optimal performance when you tag your photo with #CAFBTX and talk about hunger in your community. For ideas on what to share, visit our website.

Look for our selfie Saturday and Sunday roundup on Mondays all September long.




Investing in a Healthier Future for Our Kids

September 5th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


As we prepare for the new school year, we are reminded of the profound effect proper nutrition can have on a child’s success. We know healthy food is vital to children’s physical and mental development, and kids who face hunger often suffer serious consequences – more school days missed, lower grades and test scores, more discipline issues – that impact their future earning potential and ability to participate fully in society.

With this in mind, the Capital Area Food Bank is making child nutrition a priority, advocating for healthy school meals and the funding to support them. In the past year, we worked with hunger advocates across Texas and the U.S. to pass two provisions that will ensure access to school meals for more of the children we serve, starting in the 2014-2015 school year.

A new state law will ensure more Texas children start each day with a healthy breakfast. Under the new law, any school where 80 percent or more students qualify for free or reduced-price meals must serve free school breakfasts to all students.

At the federal level, the Community Eligibility Provision will allow schools in high-need areas to provide free meals to all students under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. Families don’t have to fill out lengthy applications for free or reduced-price meals, and schools save time and money with less administrative work.

In both cases, it’s up to individual school districts to decide whether they will take advantage of these provisions. Although the deadline has passed to enroll this year, we continue to work with partner organizations to educate school district staff, parents and community members and encourage all eligible districts to participate.

Some school districts like Round Rock ISD are taking matters into their own hands and making the financial investment on their own.  At-risk students at  RRISD schools who qualify for reduced -priced lunch can now receive their meals for free.

When more children eat well, everyone benefits. This is an investment worth making.


Send a Letter to the Editor for Hunger Action Day

September 4th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink



If you could do one thing during Hunger Action Month we wholeheartedly support sending a letter to the editor. What Hunger Action Month all comes down to is improving the lives of each individual in your community. It’s about people. It’s about the power of individuals taking a stand against something they believe is wrong. In times of crisis, this is what Americans do best, and today we’re asking you to join us in raising your pen, smartphone, keyboard (or other writing device of choice) and send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

We make it easy for you tell tell your local paper how important solving hunger is to our community. Visit our website to use our letter to the editor tool. Simply type in your zip code, customize your letter or use our sample letter as a guide and send it off. We’ll make sure your letter gets to the right newspaper.

Click here to get started.


The key to getting teens to eat healthier isn’t what you think.

September 3rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


Mom may have told you not to talk with your mouth full, but that doesn’t mean conversation has no place at mealtime. Nutrition Educator Anadeli Bautista shares how communicating with your loved ones can be the key to healthier eating.

Why are communication skills important to nutrition?

Good communication skills are helpful in any situation. Any parent with a teenager at home knows it’s not always easy to bridge the generation gap. But when it comes to healthy meal planning, especially on a budget, things go much more smoothly if everyone can talk openly. The Food Bank’s FRIDGE class is all about helping families work as partners to achieve healthier eating goals.

What is FRIDGE?

FRIDGE stands for Food-Related Intergenerational Discussion Group Experiences. The curriculum was developed as part of the Penn State Intergenerational Program. Basically, it’s a nutrition class that helps families communicate better about eating habits. The series includes basic nutrition with the USDA’s MyPlate recommendations. But we also talk about healthy communication habits, identifying food preferences, peer pressure and collaborative decision making, just to name a few.

What are some of the barriers you see between parents and kids, and how do they affect families’ eating habits?

Any family can struggle with communication. As kids grow into teenagers, they want more independence and to make their own choices.

I recently taught this class at a Central Texas Children’s Home group home. There you have extra tension because the kids are also overcoming troubled situations. Foster families just have to work harder at keeping those lines of communication open to help prepare the young adults in their transition to independence.

Then you factor in what we call “noise.” That’s TV, cell phones, video games—all the things that distract us from the here and now. It’s easy to see how parents and kids can get frustrated trying to communicate through all that noise.

How does the FRIDGE series help families break down these barriers?

You know, we’re not big on lectures here at the Food Bank. FRIDGE is very interactive. We play a game called “You Think You Know Me?” based on the Newlywed Game. You should see parents’ reactions when they realize they don’t actually know what their kids’ favorite fruits and vegetables are.

We also role play. Parents and kids will act out a scenario and practice resolving conflict through communication strategies. For example, a parent might try to discuss weekly meal planning with a teenager who is too busy with a cell phone to really pay attention. That scenario really resonated with the house parents at Central Texas Children’s Home.

So, is FRIDGE really a communication class, or do participants actually learn about food?

They absolutely learn about food! Of course we cover basic nutrition principles and how to read food labels, but they also practice making healthy recipes as a family. The foster family at Central Texas Children’s Home made this delicious chicken spinach penne pasta. I was impressed with how eager the kids were to pitch in, especially the boys.

The chicken spinach penne is great because it really is a balanced meal in one dish. The pasta and chicken are a great source of whole grains, fiber and protein. And the spinach, yellow summer squash and tomatoes are packed with vitamins. Since it only takes about 20 minutes to prepare, I always recommend it to working families that are looking for easy ways to eat and prepare dinner together.

To learn more about our CHOICES Nutrition Program or to schedule a class, contact Bilingual Nutritionist Vivian Noriega at 512-684-2538 or


Chicken Spinach Penne Pasta


Prep Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • ¾ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 10-ounce bag fresh spinach
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 15 ounces canned chicken in water
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dry oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dry basil
  • Lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the pasta following the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the garlic and stir to prevent burning. After about 30 seconds, add the broth to the saucepan while stirring. Bring the liquid to a boil and add the squash. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, chicken, spinach, oregano and basil and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour the chicken and vegetable mix into a large bowl with the pasta and mix well. Add the cheese, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 cup

Servings: 8

Calories per serving 316

Total Fat 9g

Carbohydrates 36g

Fiber 5g

Protein 21g

Sodium 599mg

Cholesterol 38mg


Source: Healthy Lunch Time Challenge Cookbook,

Recipe modified by CHOICES Nutrition Education Program, Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.