AUSTIN, Texas — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in south Austin delivered about 5,000 non-perishable canned goods to help organizations providing outreach to vulnerable people in the area.
Donations were delivered on May 19 to Mobile Loaves and Fishes to support the residents of the Community First! Village and Junior League of Austin to benefit their Food in Tummies (FIT) program.
In its tenth year, the FIT program provides children in the Del Valle school district with food to take home to replace meals that would have been provided at school and to help meet needs over the weekends. The team of Junior League volunteers packed 1,700 to 1,900 bags of food each week for students during the COVID-19 school shutdown.
Church members Shawn and Joy Kriese and their daughter Mia, who live in the Del Valle area, delivered the canned goods on May 12 to the Junior League operations center. According to FIT scheduler and technology liaison Jessica Spencer, “The backpack operation is completely run by volunteers, and our business manager spent hours and hours over the last few weeks trying to procure protein, which we just haven’t been able to find. What a blessing for you all to step in just as we were running out.”
Mobile Loaves and Fishes Community First! Village provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness. The social distancing requirements imposed by COVID-19 impacted the regular potluck meals brought in by volunteers. There was a shortage of portable food for residents to take and cook at home to allow them to maintain safe social distancing. Mark Rehburg, Curtis Whiting and Ben and Zuri Buzan, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered the donation of more than 2,000 canned goods, enabling weekends of meals for the Village community so residents could stay home and stay safe.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with local partners like Mobile Loaves and Fishes and the Junior League of Austin to fill a community need by sharing the consecrated donations of our members,” Michael Smith said, president of the Austin Oak Hills Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “The reach of these partners extends further than our own to some of the most vulnerable individuals in our community who might go hungry otherwise.”
The food donations come from the Bishop’s Storehouse, the Church’s local food pantry funded by member tithes to provide those in need with a source of food and other essentials. According to previous Church President, Thomas S. Monson, “While [bishop’s] storehouses have many of the same services as any retail food store, not one has a cash register…These are goods that money cannot buy. No price tag is put on the time, effort, and love so generously contributed to the common good of those in need.”
For more information about the Junior League of Austin and the FIT program, visit https://www.jlaustin.org/food-in-tummies/
For more information about Mobile Loaves and Fishes Community First! Villiage, visit https://mlf.org/community-first/