by Emily Miller, Austin Stake Communication Director
PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — The Circle of Hope Community Center in Pflugerville received a bulk donation of peanut butter, whole turkeys, and other perishable food items this week from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Church’s humanitarian department awarded Circle of Hope Community Center with a $5,000 commodities grant last fall. Circle of Hope used a portion of the grant amount to order a pallet of peanut butter, comprising of 60 boxes, or enough jars to feed nearly 800 households. The Bishops’ Storehouse also included dozens of frozen whole turkeys as well as dairy products and canned goods. Circle of Hope will use the remainder of the grant award in the coming months.
Circle of Hope will distribute the food to members of the greater Austin community who are in need. Tina Lee, the executive director of Circle of Hope, also received a tour of the Bishops’ Storehouse in Round Rock.
Circle of Hope, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, holds drive-by food distribution events every Monday and Friday and on the first Tuesday of each month. They distribute a variety of foods, including meat, fresh produce, dry goods, dairy and bakery products. Food insecurity has increased with the COVID-19 pandemic, and Circle of Hope now serves more than 2,000 families, more than 8,000 individuals, each month.
For the last several years, many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Pflugerville have donated food and volunteered at Circle of Hope. In Oct. 2020, for example, a group from the Austin Texas Stake volunteered at Circle of Hope on one of the center’s distribution days, sorting donations, directing traffic, placing food in cars and cleaning the facility.
MaryAnn Wilson, who has volunteered there with her family, said, “I think it’s wonderful to see how Circle of Hope brings the community together to meet the needs of those who need help. Everyone that I meet that serves there has a different story and is from a different walk of life. They come together because they have a Christ-like desire to help their neighbors. It’s heartwarming to me to see the good that is done by these people.”
Wilson reflected that she especially enjoys interacting with those individuals who receive food. She said, “You can see it in their faces and in their eyes how much they appreciate it. They feel loved and important.”
David Calabuig of the Austin Stake High Council was also present at the service day in October. He reflected, “I witnessed firsthand the great work that Circle of Hope provides to many families in need, especially during this pandemic. At the beginning of our shift, we unloaded a shipment of boxes and restocked the shelves with food, but only three hours later, the shelves were almost empty as the food had been distributed to a very long line of people.”
The Austin Stake looks forward to working with Circle of Hope in the future. According to Calabuig, “Jesus Christ taught by example the importance of caring for the poor. In the Bible, He taught that as we feed the poor, we are serving Him. We are pleased to partner with Circle of Hope and know that the Church’s donation from the Bishop’s Storehouse will be put to good use to feed those in our community who need it the most.”
To learn more about Circle of Hope Community Center, including ways to donate food or volunteer, visit https://www.circleofhopecc.org/get-involved