Central Texas Food Bank calls for donations, volunteers during holiday season

Yesterday was "Giving Tuesday," but local charities are hoping people keep up that generous spirit throughout the holiday season. The Nightbeat's Michael Perchick found a unique way some are pitching in .

AUSTIN - With each whack, another hole. And more importantly, another donation, and another meal. 

“This car's been just sitting on my driveway, so I thought, 'Why not donate it? See if we can raise more money than it would be worth on the street,'” said David Thomas, who donated his car to raise money for the Central Texas Food Bank.

People would pay to swing either an axe or sledgehammer for a certain period of time at the vehicle. In the process, they raised $370, which accounts for nearly 1,500 meals.

“One dollar equals four meals, and during the holidays we do have an ongoing match, so one dollar actually equals eight meals. So even the smallest donation goes a really long way for our community,” explained Felicia Pena, the Community Engagement Director with the Central Texas Food Bank.

The matching grant lasts through Dec. 31. 

The holiday season is typically one of the busiest times of the year, as students are out of class and the temperature drops. These donations have long-term benefits.

“The  amazing amount of support throughout the holidays is crucial for us as we continue to January and February into the spring. We get to really build up a good resource of funds and of food to allow us to continue to purchase food and provide food for our clients during the spring,” said Pena.

Standing inside the warehouse they moved into last year, food is stacked from the floor to the ceiling across nearly a dozen aisles. Prior to the move, the food bank was meeting 70 percent of the community’s need. With the extra space, they’ve been able to cut into that number, but still have room to grow.

“The opportunities have grown to allow us to make meals in our kitchen, and package those meals in our warehouse so that we're meeting those additional needs,” explained Pena.

So what types of donations are they looking for?

“We’re always looking for high-protein items. Those tend to go very fast because they’re very nutritious, and we get a lot of requests for those. We’re also working a lot towards fresh produce, and distributing produce in that way too and trying to make sure that we’re distributing as much produce as canned food and shelf staples,” Pena said.

Volunteer shifts are three hours long, six days a week.

The food bank works with several local agencies and charities to help get food directly to those in need. If you're in need of assistance, click here

To learn about volunteering, click here. To learn about donations, click here.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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