Food donations continue for thousands of Central Texans without power

Volunteers from the Central Texas Food Bank set out Monday night to help about 500 families.

AUSTIN, Texas – Some Austin residents have been groping in the dark for almost a week. Austin Energy officials announced Monday that full recovery could take until Sunday, February 12.

Now, community members are stepping up to make sure no one is left behind during the recovery from last week’s ice storm in central Texas.

That’s why hundreds of cars lined up in northeast Austin Monday night waiting to get fresh groceries as thousands were still without power.

“It really saddens me because I know some people probably have to go to family, friends or motels, and I even had to stay in a motel for a few days myself,” said Christene Lewis, who went to the food drive to pick groceries shopping for her family.

volunteers with Central Texas Food Bank on Monday evening to help around 500 families.

“We knew there was a need before the ice storm, but particularly with food spoilage, potentially increased costs due to damage, we wanted to make sure families have what they need,” said Sari Vatske, Central Texas President and CEO -Food bank.

Costs Christene Lewis said groceries should go in the bin.

“I spent over $100 just to buy some groceries because of the storm because I knew we couldn’t leave the house to get something,” Lewis said.

Lisa Duecker said she had been without power for almost a week. Her family had to wrap themselves in blankets during the cold. She threw away all the meat her 97-year-old father had brought from hunting before the storm.

As for the food drive, Vatske said it’s important they have foods that don’t require energy but still provide nutrients. This includes items such as long-life milk, cereal, prepared salads, prepared fruit, and more.

She said supply chain issues and inflation have also hit their pantry, making their inventories low, so they’re doing everything they can.

“We’ve worked with grocers, manufacturers, retailers and the generosity of the community with food drives to ensure families have what they need,” Vatske said.

Many are simply grateful for the help.

“We love you and God is just good. I’m saying keep doing what you’re doing to help those who need help,” Lewis said.

Regarding the upcoming food drives, Vatske said they will be keeping a close eye on community needs.

“Disaster recovery is a marathon. It’s not a sprint. So we will be out here doing additional distributions for as long as it is necessary,” Vatske said.

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Laura Coffey

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