FOOD INSECURITY IN ATX IS A PROBLEM, BUT THESE PLACES CAN HELP

Emily Barton

Food insecurity is not a taboo subject. In Travis County, nearly 20% of people lack consistent and adequate access to food. The holidays are synonymous with food, so this is a great time to name a few great resources if you’re in need of help! Pantries, food banks, and outposts are extremely COVID conscious right now, and many also let you request masks, sanitizer, and other health-related necessities to be placed in with your groceries.

There are dozens and dozens of places around Austin that exist to help you with food, so please don’t be scared to take advantage of them. On the other side of that- if you are reading this and you’re able to donate food, money, or time…PLEASE DO! Food resources like these wouldn’t be available if it weren’t for Texans helping Texans.

Here are a few resources open every day:

ATX Free Fridge Project

This is a community fridge where you can walk up and take what you need, or leave something for someone else to take. While there are all kinds of fresh produce and groceries, many people will even make food or package up yummy left overs for the fridge. Everything but raw meat is allowed, so this is a great treasure trunk to pull up to and grab some grub.

Central Texas Food Bank

CTFB is amazing and has multiple ways you can secure food. By going on their website you can find schedules for drive-thru pickups (3 left in December), mobile food pantries (every day), and a bunch of other locations you can pick up food. They will load you up with nearly 28 lbs of it at each pickup, and can even help you apply for benefits like SNAP. CTFB experienced an over 200% increase in first-time visitors since the pandemic began, and they are ready to help you, too.

UT Outpost

If you are a UT student, I am begging you to take advantage of this amazing resource. You just have to be enrolled and fill out a super quick form choosing your pickup time. You then go to the contactless pickup zone (in the building behind SSB) and grab a bag labeled with your ID number. It has all kinds of food in it, and you can even request one free meal voucher to use at a campus dining hall. Due to winter break, UT students will be allowed 2 pickups in both December and January from the Outpost.

Here’s a list of more resources. A great tip is that many churches have pantries, and they are easy to find online with just a search!

Micah 6 Food Pantry

Thursdays 6-7pm and Saturdays 10:30-11:30am

Westover Food Pantry and Assistance

Saturdays 9-11am

Hope Food Pantry

Thursdays and Fridays 9-10:30am

St. John Community Food Center

Wednesdays 9-11am

While these are just a few places you can get access to free food and personal hygiene/ health products, we live in a big city where there is lots of help to go around. If you stop by one of these places, don’t be afraid to ask what else they can do for you or where else they might know of that you can find additional help. Go get yourself some food and have a Happy Holiday… not a hungry Holiday!