Bread For All (BFA) Food Pantry served more than 125 families/individuals the last three Mondays of April 2020. This is double our normal volume. We calculate that each neighbor served in person, on average, is part of a family between three and five persons. Multiplying 125 by 4 yields an estimate total of 500 persons served, many of these children.
Thanks to the great support of Austin City Lutherans (ACL) and the buoyant commitment of its volunteers, BFA has kept its service doors open through the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic-fueled higher volume arriving for food at BFA includes many who are first-time visitors to a pantry.
BFA is a partner agency of the Central Texas Food Bank, itself linked to the non-profit Feeding America network of some 200 food banks. In Austin, a number of food pantries have temporarily closed. The biggest reason cited is the vulnerability of their volunteers – most of them over sixty-five years of age.
Because BFA is able to rely upon a large volunteer base within the Austin City Lutherans network of churches and other friends, we’ve benefitted from an influx of new volunteers who are under sixty years of age. A big thanks to our new volunteers who have helped us continue this much-needed service at this crucial time!
A huge thanks is also due to great support from donors: ACL congregations and the ELCA’s (our nationwide church) Daily Bread Matching Grant; ACL individuals, friends and other supporters in Austin who want to help those who are food insecure; and, Austin Community Foundation’s and the United Way’s “All Together Austin” fund.* BFA is the recipient of financial support like never before – at precisely the time it is needed.
Last but not least, we have ample heaps of gratitude for our host congregation and partner in ministry, Faith Presbyterian, for their trust and support to continue this vital and essential ministry.
BFA has adjusted its distribution format to ensure less contact between all persons – recipients and volunteers alike. Groceries are pre-bagged inside, and actual distribution happens outside to neighbors previously waiting in a socially-distant line. The overall distribution period has been lengthened to eliminate the potential of crowds congregating.
Individuals, families, businesses, faith communities, schools, and government entities are all faced with the same dilemma that BFA faces: How to do what you do in a safe and efficient manner – in the “new normal”? By adaptation, BFA has figured out much of the answer to the question. We’ll continue to “stay on our toes” to make further adjustments as needed. We anticipate we’ll continue to distribute food to larger numbers of neighbors – many stretched economically and financially in turmoil – all summer long, if not for the rest of 2020.
We’re grateful not only to supporters and wonderful volunteers, but most of all to God who promises to provide for every single one of us. Can we share what God has provided so that all might be fed? It’s most important at this time of coronavirus, that there be bread for all – especially for the most vulnerable in our midst.
- Bread For All was awarded $3,000 from the “All Together Austin” fund on April 21st. Thanks again to Austin Community Foundation, United Way, and Austin area donors!