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Millions of dollars approved to improve food access in Travis County

As the holiday season approaches, demand at food pantries is at an all-time high. Travis County commissioners approved $4.9 million to increase access to fresh food.

AUSTIN, Texas — Travis County commissioners have approved a total of $4.9 million to increase access to food. They continue to see a high demand for convenient, affordable and delicious meals and this money will help provide exactly that. 

Travis County commissioners recently received an update on how the funds will help increase fresh produce available in the area, especially as the holidays approach and many kids will be at home.

Eight organizations received funds. The Central Texas Food Bank received over $700,000. This will allow the food bank to expand its home delivery program, which provides clients with monthly home delivery of shelf-stable groceries. 

"This will enable us to identify more folks in need of assistance and provide a screen and intervene model," said Sari Vatske, Central Texas Food Bank's CEO. "So, we'll be able to take a case management approach to understand the types of food they need and make sure that families get that."

The food bank will also increase access to vegetables, fruits and meats. One of people's biggest concerns is not having a variety of fresh foods. 

"In partnership with Amazon, we're delivering shelf-stable items," Vatske said. "But this funding will help us deliver directly perishable items. We want to make sure that at least 50% of what we're distributing is fresh produce."

Farmshare Austin is another organization receiving money that will go toward mobile markets and curbside delivery services. 

"More customers can get a reliable source of healthy grocery items and produce every week," said Andrea Abel, executive director of Farmshare Austin.

Farmshare Austin has a goal to provide affordable nutritious fruits and vegetables to those who don't have easy access. 

"Our produce and grocery items are at a reduced price," Abel said. "In addition to that, we accept SNAP and double up food bucks."

For more information on Farmshare'savailable produce, call the bilingual Help Desk at 512-730-1807 or email info@farmshareaustin.org.

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