When it comes to helping families in Texas, the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a wave of innovation and service expansion to respond to a unprecedented level of need.
The San Antonio Food Bank developed a handful of innovations during the pandemic, innovations that have proven to be so effective that they are now permanently available to underfunded households. Food bank innovations include: curbside pickup (like at your favorite restaurant or grocery store), home delivery of perishable and non-perishable food (similar to a home meal delivery, but these are the ingredients raw for those who can still prepare their meal). own meals at home), and of course, mobile food distributions in large car parks throughout all areas of the region.
Finding help from the food bank is also easier than ever. Those in need of assistance are encouraged to visit www.safoodbank.org/help/. Here they will find details on access to food, public benefits (SNAP, WIC, CHIP and more) and work opportunities. If they wish, they can connect by phone to a member of the bilingual help center staff who can help them navigate through the available options.
The food bank is a source of community support and hope for many families in the area, like the family of Ann Marie. Married for 25 years, Ann Marie struggled during the last five years of her marriage as diabetes and depression slowly affected her physical and mental health as well as that of her husband. As many neighbors struggling with diabetes face challenges, Ann Marie’s family was affected after her husband lost both legs to diabetes. Depression began to take its toll on her husband after the loss of his first leg, and after the loss of her second, she noticed that her depression was getting worse.
And now that he’s passed away, Ann Marie is a single mother of four: Daniel (29), Sabrina (25), Brook (12) and Noah (10).
âMy soul lives and breathes for my children. I will do anything to support them. My daily concern is to earn money and feed them, âsaid Ann Marie.
For Ann Marie, doing the right thing is ingrained. It can mean juggling multiple side tasks – mowing the lawn, painting, donating plasma – and if there is an opportunity to support her family, she will. The pandemic has made us all pivot. For Ann Marie, donating plasma every 28 days, and platelets every seven days, have become stuck in her schedule to make ends meet.
Living near the San Antonio food bank made it possible for Ann Marie to attend food distributions for the first time. Seeing the food bank as a community resource and identifying her family’s needs, she decided to call and learn how her family could sign up for food assistance.
“I didn’t know you were on my side the whole time – I had no idea all of these services were available for my family!” Â»Says Anne Marie.
Receiving support from the Food Bank has enabled her family to make important decisions without food insecurity looming. Ann Marie’s youngest child, Noah, has just been accepted to Compass Rose, a public charter school that focuses on robotics, engineering, entrepreneurship, and computing.
Ann Marie explains: âThis is the first chance our family has had in a long time. With that and the food bank being a source we can draw on, I am truly grateful. You’ve brought us all out of a dark time.
Beyond emergency food assistance, many federal nutrition programs were expanded and improved during the pandemic to help parents provide food and other essential resources for their children. One program expansion that will prove transformative for households with children is the new and improved child tax credit.
The Child Tax Credit is a tax refund designed to help families pay for expenses related to raising a child. This year, the benefit has been expanded to help families who need it most – those who are not required to file taxes because they have little or no income. While many families will receive this benefit automatically, those families will need to register at GetCTC.org/strength by November 15th.
You can help spread awareness of the Child Tax Credit in your community by using this resource kit from No Kid Hungry, which includes out-of-the-box and customizable resources that you can share on social media, in your newsletter. or by hanging flyers in your community.
Local community resources as well as expanded federal benefits have been a vital lifeline throughout the pandemic. Now you can help your friends, family and neighbors rebuild by making sure they know about the extensive services offered by the San Antonio Food Bank, as well as federal benefits such as the Child Tax Credit and the SNAP.