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Nearly 15% of Austin residents experience food insecurity

Keep Austin Fed works with local partners to cut down on food waste, which, along with inflation, makes food insecurity worse.

AUSTIN, Texas — The cost of groceries continues to rise year after year, leaving some to wonder where their next meal may come from.

"Fifteen percent of our City's population faces food insecurity and hunger, and that's about 175,000 people," said Jess Palmer, program director for Keep Austin Fed.

It's a statistic Palmer said is eye-opening. With rising costs of food and other necessities, food insecurity continues to affect many Central Texans.

"Are you going to pay utilities or are you going to pay your rent? Are you going to put gas in your car? Like, where does food fall into that priority list," said Palmer.

Keep Austin Fed works with local partners to cut down on food waste, something Palmer said is key with how much food actually never gets used.

"Between 35 and 40% of food that is grown, processed and distributed in the country is wasted," she said.

Credit: Ford Sanders/KVUE

The nonprofit has coolers and locations across the city to store food in.

Their mission is to use surplus foods from partners like Trader Joe's, restaurants and other shops but also make sure they have fresh items for those in need.

And with those increased costs comes higher demand.

"Our current partners are just asking if there's an extra food delivery that they could get," said Palmer.

To help battle that waste, especially coming off of holidays like Thanksgiving, Palmer said there are some easy changes you can make.

"Making up a weekly meal plan, because that way that really nails down your grocery list," she said.

When it comes to volunteers, they're always accepting help and truly depend on these workers.

"We've set them up to where, you know, it only maybe takes 30 minutes to an hour at the very most of your time to go to one of our food contributors," said Palmer.

For more information on ways to volunteer and get involved with Keep Austin Fed, click here.

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