by Kelly J. Larson, Media Specialist, Austin Area Coordinating Council
AUSTIN, Texas — A semi truck filled with food pallets from the Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City, Utah, arrived at the Central Texas Food Bank on July 8, the second such donation since October 2019.
In March, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began sending out 15 additional trucks weekly. In 16 weeks, the church dispatched 240 truckloads beyond its normal capacity, with each truck carrying enough food to feed 1,400 people for a week.
Increased joblessness has impacted the food bank’s resources. Michael Wooten, food sourcing manager at the Central Texas Food Bank said, “To keep up with demands, the programs team has hired a dozen additional staff members. In the last four months, we have purchased an additional 200 truckloads, equivalent to 8 million pounds of food. This is dry goods only. We are still buying produce, dairy and frozen food.”
The Central Texas Food Bank is large enough to receive and redistribute to food pantries in the area and welcomed the church’s donation, which amounted to 34,746 meals.
Georgetown Caring Place, Hutto Resource Center and Round Rock Area Serving Center are some of the nearby places that will receive a portion of the food that arrived. Communication Director Bob Clark from the Round Rock East Stake worked with each of those organizations to choose from what was available.
Pallets included beef stew, beef chunks, chili, pork and beans, black beans, great northern beans, turkey chunks, corn, green beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken rotini soup, cream of chicken soup, applesauce, peaches, pears, peanut butter, vanilla pudding, chocolate pudding, flour, spaghetti, macaroni and powdered milk.
Wooten has worked at the Central Texas Food Bank for 15 years and has seen a lot through hurricanes, floods and more. Experiencing his first pandemic, he remarked, “It’s made us better in our jobs. We are still looking for certain items like pasta, but we have been able to find them.”
Ross Sinicropi, food procurement specialist at the Central Texas Food Bank, graduated from Baylor University with a supply chain management degree. “The majority of what we buy is my job,” Sinicropi said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has now become the largest-ever humanitarian project of the church,” President Russell M. Nelson has said. “Any way you want to measure it, this is now the largest.”
The local stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ will continue to partner with the Central Texas Food Bank with a goal to provide relief for the community. “It was a great day for our area,” Coordinating Council Communication Director Glen Hancock shared.
(PHOTO credit for outside/Dana Willard, PHOTO credit for inside/Ross Sinicropi)