Recently, ten AFBA members went down to the new Central Texas Food Bank facility (6500 Metropolis Drive). Now at 135,000 square feet, they have more than doubled their space. September is #hungeractionmonth, so it was a great opportunity for us to get into action!

CTFB is the largest hunger relief charity in Central Texas, serving 250 partner agencies in 21 counties in an area twice the size of Massachusetts. Every $1 cash donation equals 8 pounds of food or 4 meals. Their mission is to nourish hungry people and lead the community in ending hunger.

Not only does CTFB work with agencies and individuals to distribute food such as produce and shelf-stable items, but they also create meals from the donated goods.

Their kitchen facility is nothing short of amazing. Chef Kim Granato gave us a personal tour of the space, which will be fully operational within a year. With foods that are donated, they make industrial batches of foods in an efficient manner. They will have a Culinary Training Program (hopefully starting in March 2017) that teaches life and job skills to those who are in need of it; culinary students will help oversee the program and gain experience through externships. Within five years, they expect to be producing 10 – 15,000 meals per day in the kitchen. Chef Kim has a huge passion for the kitchen she oversees. She even explained how she is currently hiring for a line chef, but wants someone who understands the mission of the agency, not someone who is ego-driven.

After our tour, the work started! AFBA members, along with other food bank volunteers assisted in the warehouse room. Some groups sorted donated cases of sodas, while the rest of us inspected, sorted, and boxed up the frozen foods donations.

At the end of our shift, Gabe, the shift leader told us that all total, we had sorted through 2700 pounds of canned soda, which equates to 250 meals, and 5720 pounds of frozen goods (mostly raw meats, some hot dogs/sausages, cheese) for 4767 meals. Wow! It was a morning well spent! And our ten members donated a total of 51 pounds of food donations which equals 43 meals!

CTFB is always looking for volunteers, and has shift openings six days a week. Whether you can give time or money, or want to organize a food drive, find how you can get involved on their website.

Check out even more great photos of our visit to the Central Texas Food Bank on the AFBA Facebook page!

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