Honoring Steve Wertz for Volunteer of the Quarter

July 24th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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Steve Wertz with Iris Graebner, Capital Area Food Bank Volunteer Resources Manager

The Food Bank would like to congratulate its Volunteer Leader of the Quarter, Mr. Steve Wertz.  Since 2010, Steve has volunteered over 800 hours at the Food Bank.  Steve began as an administrative volunteer, helping with data entry of volunteer hours.  In 2011, he decided he wanted a more physically active volunteer role and began to volunteer in Product Recovery.  After quickly establishing himself as a key volunteer, he was nominated as a Volunteer Leader in 2012 and happily accepted the promotion.  Steve went above and beyond by committing to shifts two days a week in Product Recovery.

As a Volunteer Leader, Steve is helpful and courteous with volunteers and always eager to help.  Ellen Weaver, Product Recovery Assistant, says, ““I’ve only known Steve for a brief span of time, but within that time he has demonstrated excellence in leadership, accountability, and a determination to fulfill the mission of the Food Bank. The Food Bank and the Product Recovery team are quite lucky to have the presence of a hard worker like Steve.”

In addition to helping in Product Recovery, Steve has volunteered for many years at Austin Reggae Festival and Hot Sauce Fest.  He’s not afraid to fundraise and “foodraise” (his term).  Steve says that he likes to see the whole process of food banking, from the time the food leaves a donor’s hand to the time it is sorted and headed out the door to folks who need it. When asked what one of his favorite things is about volunteering at the Food Bank, he said, “It’s a fun atmosphere to interact with people you may otherwise never meet, all while providing an important service to the local community.  Often times you’ll meet other volunteers again outside of the food bank who will remember you and that usually gives you chance to follow-up with them to find out that that they had a worthwhile, enjoyable experience as well.”

Thank you so much for all of your hard work and commitment to ending hunger in Central Texas, Steve!

 

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Free app turns small food tweeks into big benefits for your Food Bank

July 18th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

If you’re looking to lose some weight or just eat healthier, there are many apps out there to help you on your journey. But there’s only one app that will also help you pay it forward to people in your community at risk of hunger. We’re proud to partner with FoodTweeks to turn your healthy eating achievements into funds for the Food Bank.

First, download the free app for your Android or iPhone,  and start a free account. Enter the promo code CAFBTX. Then, simply report your food “tweeks” such as choosing a side salad instead of fries at a fast food restaurant, grilling instead of frying fish at home or skipping the bread basket when you visit your favorite restaurant. All your little tweeks add up to calorie savings for you and calories earned for you to donate to the Food Bank.

The best part, donating calories to us is easy with the app and totally free for you! If you’re on social media you can multiply your calorie donations by posting your tweek on Facebook or Twitter. FoodTweeks’ blog and app includes some great ideas on how to tweek your recipes and keep your meals delicious and healthy.

Visit our landing page to learn more and sign up.

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Call Congress Today to Support Food Donation Tax Legislation

July 15th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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This week, Congress will vote on legislation that would improve federal tax incentives for donating food and funds to food banks and other nonprofits, including food donation tax incentives and allowing donations of IRA rollovers to nonprofits.  We need your help to mobilize thousands of phone calls to make sure that the House of Representatives passes this legislation.

Nonprofit organizations across the country are holding a national-call in day today, Tuesday, July 15, and we need you to add your voice to this important effort.  Help us make sure food banks have the resources they need to help struggling Americans by calling your representative.  Here is a summary of the legislation:  https://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/4719

To call Congress:

  1. Dial Feeding America’s toll free number, (888) 398-8702, listen to the pre-recorded message and enter your zip code when prompted.
  1. Connect to your Representative, give your name, state that you are a constituent, and an employee of Capital Area Food Bank.
  2. Let them know you are calling about food donation and charitable giving tax legislation and deliver this important message:

As your constituent and supporter of the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, I am calling you today to ask you to support H.R. 4719, food donation tax legislation that would help our food bank be there for struggling Americans.  Please support this and other charitable giving tax legislation that would help ensure our food bank has the food and the funds needed to continue supporting those in need in our community.

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Food for Families Food Drive Starts Today

July 7th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Our friends at KEYE TV, Randalls and Telemundo believe that no family in Central Texas should go hungry this summer and they’ve joined forces to make a difference.  Now through July 18 we invite you to support their annual Food For Families food and fund drive. There are many ways for you to take part:

  1. At Randalls purchase a pre-packaged bag full of healthy foods such rice, beans, peanut butter, canned tuna and salmon, healthy cereals, and water. The bags are $10 each.
  2. Grab a $1 or $5 scan tag at the check out to make a cash donation with your final grocery bill. Remember, every $1 donated to the Food Bank  provides $5 worth of food.
  3. Look for the Food for Families donation barrel at Randalls stores and donate healthy, non-perishable food.

Be sure to watch KEYE TV  for news stories about hunger in your community. For more information visit the KEYE TV website.

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How many servings of vegetables does it take to fill up a light bulb?

July 3rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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Our nutrition educators know that families struggling to make ends meet often have to make due with cheaper foods. That often means fewer nutrients but not necessarily fewer calories.

Nutrition Educator Anadeli Bautista shares her experience leading a group of seventh- through 11th-graders from East Austin College Preparatory Academy through the Food Bank’s newly revamped Power of Choice series.

The new curriculum uses the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines as a foundation to inform participants in making healthy food choices.

The class starts with a worksheet to help participants use their age, gender and amount of physical activity to estimate how much fuel their bodies need. This exercise not only determines the number of calories they should have each day, but the number of servings from each food group.

Anadeli says the students at East Austin College Prep were open minded and eager to learn. They asked great questions like “why do males need more calories than females?”

The answer, Anadeli tells us, is muscle mass. Generally, males have more muscle mass than females, and muscle burns more calories than fat. So males typically have a higher resting metabolism.

The class also teaches healthy portion sizes using household objects for comparison. A one-ounce serving of pasta, for example, is roughly the size of a computer mouse. And a 1/2 cup serving of vegetables is about as big as a light bulb.

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“It is an easier method of recognizing our foods and portion sizes than having to take out our measuring cups and spoons at a restaurant and measuring our foods,” Anadeli says. “We would look silly doing that.”

Of course, not everyone was convinced these portions would be enough. Anadeli shared some of the students’ more amusing complaints: “I’m not going to get full with that.” “I’ll be hungry all day.” “I’ll starve to death.”

“We have gotten used to the huge portion sizes of our foods,” Anadeli says.

In fact, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, average American food portions have doubled or tripled over the last 20 years.

But rest assured, when you choose the right foods, these smaller portions are plenty to fuel a happy, healthy and productive life.

Speaking of fuel, check out this trail mix recipe Anadeli shared from her class. This wholesome snack only takes five minutes to make and combines whole grain oats, dried fruits and nuts for a healthy energy boost.

To learn more about our CHOICES nutrition program or to schedule a class in your area, contact Bilingual Nutritionist Vivian Noriega at 512-684-2538 or vnoriega@austinfoodbank.org.

Trail Mix

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. Honey roasted almonds

1 Tbsp. Dried cherries or sweetened, dried cranberries

1 Tbsp. Raisins

1 Tbsp. Dried apricots, cut into eighths

1 Tbsp. Whole grain toasted oat cereal

Preparation:

  1. Combine all ingredients, and mix well.
  2. Place portions into small plastic containers or sandwich bags for convenient, grab-and-go snacking.

Nutritional Information:

Calories 137, Total Fat 5 g, Carbohydrates 24 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 3 g, Sodium 31 mg, Cholesterol 0 mg

Adapted from www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org. Recipe modified by CHOICES Nutrition Education Program.

 

 

 

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Bi-Partisan Effort to Strengthen Child Nutrition Programs Needs Your Voice.

July 2nd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

elbuen6Last  week, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkoswki (R-AK) introduced the Summer Meals Act (S.2527) to strengthen child nutrition programs. The impact of this legislation, if passed, can be tremendous in our work to end childhood hunger. It’ll mean more resources, more time and more effective ways for us to fulfill our mission.

We’re going to tell our legislators how excited we are. Will you share our excitement with them too?

Contact Senator John Cornyn using the online contact form or call his office in DC or district offices.

Contact Senator Ted Cruz using the online contact form or call his office in DC or district offices.

Here are the top four ways this bill makes life better for Central Texas children and families:

  1. Central Texas has a unique poverty problem. Our poverty is sprawling and in the suburbs and not concentrated in the urban core or rural communities. In this bill, if 40 percent of children in an area are eligible for free-reduced price lunch, then the entire community can benefit from the summer meals programs. By lowering the threshold for participation, it allows us to reach families that have relocated to the outskirts of town where there are often less support services.
  2. One of the biggest challenges we have in recruiting sites and expanding our participation in federal programs is the paperwork. This takes time and resources to manage. We also know that hunger doesn’t take a weekend break or holiday. Still, it’s difficult to reach children on weekends and over school holidays when they need us most. This bill allows us to submit one set of paperwork to feed children year round. This major improvement will not only expand our capacity by enabling us to use federal funds, but our partners and we can spend more of our time and resources nourishing children instead of pushing paper.
  3. Mobile meals trucks are popping up all over the country, and they’ve proven to be an effective method to reach children without access to transportation. Now, the government is ready to invest with transportation grants to get more meals to children in need. With 19,000 square miles to cover, an area about twice the size of Massachusetts, we can use their support to reach every child in need.
  4. When parents need to be at work for at least eight hours a day, their children will often eat breakfast, lunch and after-school snack, maybe even dinner away from the home and in childcare. This bill will expand the number of meals covered to support three meals. Childcare sites won’t have to make the difficult decision of reducing the quality of childcare or raising the price in order to pay for needed meals.

It’s not every day that legislators from different parties are willing to agree on legislation, but when it comes to keeping our kids healthy and well fed, they’re coming to the table. So far, more than 40 organizations have signed on to show their support. For more information, read the bill here.

We have a serious child hunger problem in Central Texas: one in for children in our area is at risk of hunger. Your call or email to our congressional leaders will go a long way in getting this important piece of legislation passed.

Thank you for your advocacy and for standing up for the children in your community.

 

 

 

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Austin Helps Keeps Hunger Away by Keeping it Weird

July 1st, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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It looks like everyone had a great time at Keep Austin Weird Festival & 5K. The dunking booth clearly made a huge splash with our fans. A special thanks goes to Austin City Council Member Chris Riley, Chad Goldwasser, Colin Pope and Kelly Stocker for getting in the hot seat to help us end hunger.  Thank you to Bounce Marketing for putting on this great event.

All together, the festival raised 1,758 meals toward our goal to raise 1 million this summer. Good work runners!

Enjoy these photos from the festival.

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4 things you can share for #SMDay

June 30th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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Happy Social Media Day! Today’s a special day to share how social media has made your life better and has transformed our global community. Social media has  made a tremendous difference in our ability to mobilize the community to advocate donate and volunteer. Will you use today to help end hunger in your community through social media? Remember, you can always connect with us on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Flickr, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Here are our top four suggestions:

  1. Share getalonestarcard.com. Our friendly, helpful social service outreach specialists can help folks interested in applying for food stamps and other programs.
  2. Share our job listings. We need passionate people to join our team and we make it easy to share these positions on social media. Visit our careers page to find a  job that you’d like to share.
  3. Share our volunteer page. During the summer months we could really use more adult volunteers in product recovery to help out during our busy season. Volunteering is a great way to beat the heat, so will you send a tweet?
  4. Share when you give to Summer Meals That Matter Campaign. Did you know that we’re closing in on our goal to raise 1 million meals this summer? When you donate to the campaign, remember to let others know that you supported this important campaign. You may inspire others to give too.

 

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Our doors are officially open for summer food and fun!

June 23rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Children attending El Buen Samaritano's Summer Camp hamming it up for the camera.

Children attending El Buen Samaritano’s Summer Camp hamming it up for the camera.

At a kickoff event at El Buen Samaritano in south Austin on Tuesday, June 17, community leaders from government, nonprofit and the business community came together for a common mission: supporting our children’s health and future.

Paul Strelzick from SolarWinds (center) and the kids give lunch a thumbs up.

Paul Strelzick from SolarWinds (center) and the kids give lunch a thumbs up.

Commander Nick Wright from Austin Police Department meets and greets the children.

Commander Nick Wright from Austin Police Department welcomes the children.

This year, our kid-themed cuisine inspiration comes from the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. While the children attending El Buen’s summer camp sipped on a tropical fruit smoothie, Chef Maria Wright demonstrated how to prepare the veggie loaded meatball.

Chef Maria Wright (right) meets her little helper for the cooking demostration.

Chef Maria Wright (right) meets her little helper for the cooking demostration.

All summer food service program meals are required to meet USDA nutrition guidelines.

All summer food service program meals like this one served at El Buen are required to meet USDA nutrition guidelines.

El Buen Samaritano is one of 45 partner sites working with the Food Bank to bring creative and healthy meals to children across Central Texas through the Summer Food Service Program. The Summer Food Service Program runs through August 28, and all meals are provided to kids 18 and under free of charge. For a full list of participating sites and to find one near you visit www.SquareMeals.org.

But that’s not all we’re up to this summer. We’re on track to raise 1 million meals to support families and individuals of all ages to live a healthy active life, no matter their income.

You can support the campaign by donating online today. 

We all know that healthy living requires healthy food, which is why your participation in the Summer Meals That Matter campaign makes an immediate impact.

Thank you to El Buen Samaritano for hosting the event and for all of their support.  Special thanks to our special guests and community volunteers:

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  • State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
  • State Rep. Paul Workman
  • Carlos Rivera, Health and Human Services, Austin/Travis County
  • Dr. Mark Hernandez, Community Care Collaborative
  • Oswaldo Perez, “El Conejo”, La Z 107.1 FM
  • Rich Segal, Time Warner Cable News
  • Paul Strelzick, SolarWinds
  • Pam Simpson, BMC Software
  • Michele Snethkamp, BMC Software
  • Wendolyne Morales, Telemundo
  • Erica Gustafson, Topfer Family Foundation
  • Bill Blackstone, Rackspace
  • Commander Nick Wright, Austin Police Department
  • Leslie Montoya, Univision
  • Rev. Cynthia Ruiz, El Buen Samaritano
  • Claudia Santamaria, Austin Independent School District
  • Chef Maria Wright, El Buen Samaritano
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3 Hot Events this Week for Hunger Relief

June 17th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Summer’s our busy season for hunger relief, which means we’ve been busy in Central Texas finding new and exciting ways to help raise food, funds and awareness for our work. After all, funds to provide 1 million meals are not going to just magically land in our lap (unless you want to donate here right now). We have three great opportunities to share with you, but they’re only for a limited time.

Taste of North Austin at the Domain

Saturday, June 21, 11:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.

At the Taste of North Austin, sample great food from a wide array of local restaurants while giving back. Purchase a $20 wristband and you can enjoy 10 tastes or purchase a VIP pass for $10 more. When you use your “taste tab” to vote for your favorite restaurant, you’ll also cast a vote foryour favorite charity. That’s why we recommend that you head over to the North Italia and Sushi Zushi tents and cast your vote. If either of these Food Bank fan restaurants wins, it will be able to donate a $500 Simon American Express Giftcard to us. The second and third place finishers will receive $250 Simon American Express Giftcards to donate to charity. Wristbands are available for purchase at Simon Guest Services at the Domain. For details about the day’s events visit their Facebook page.

Logan’s Roadhouse Fundraiser Night

Thursday, June 19 at  Austin-area Restaurants

On Thursday, June 19, “Raise the Steaks” with Logan’s Roadhouse. They’ll donate 15 percent of your group’s pre-tax dining checks. If your group orders exceed 50 adult entrees, they’ll donate 20 percent of your group’s pre-tax dining checks. Print out and present this ticket to your server.  Visit their website to find a location near you.

Strike Out Hunger with the Round Rock Express

 

Wednesday, June 18

Every Wednesday home game this summer, you can cheer on the Round Rock Express for free on their awesome lawn. Bring two H-E-B branded canned food items to the game to receive your free ticket. All donations benefit Capital Area Food Bank.

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