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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Local food banks see fewer donations, greater demand

A+homeless+attendee+enjoying+a+meal+at+the+South+Side+Community+Center.%0APhoto+by%3A+Raylene+Noriegal+%7C+Staff+Photographer
By Raylene Noriega
A homeless attendee enjoying a meal at the South Side Community Center. Photo by: Raylene Noriegal | Staff Photographer

Local food banks report receiving fewer donations despite an increasing amount of food-insecure residents and students.
San Marcos has seen a spike in the number of participating residents in need of food. However, the Hays County Food Bank, San Marcos’ primary distributor to food-insecure residents, has faced a decrease in the amount of both monetary and food donations during the first quarter of 2018, according to Chief Executive Officer Denise Blok.
“I think that donations are down across the board for all non-profits,” Blok said. “I don’t have the exact number, but I estimate that it’s at least 15 percent down from last year.”
One out of every seven people in Hays County is food insecure, totaling more than 24,000 residents, according to Feeding AmericayesThe Hays County Food Bank distributes weekly to San Marcos residents on Mondays and Wednesdays. Generally, these distributions see 100 people. The food bank hosts a distribution on Mondays for university students that, according to Blok, averages about 30 attendees, although the number has been rising as of late.
“I think that word has been getting out that we are here,” Blok said. “I think that we’ll hit 50 by the end of the semester.”
Hannah Thornton, the director of the dietetics internship program at Texas State, noticed her students were going without a steady supply of food. Research performed by Thornton and other faculty members in the Nutrition and Foods Program reveals over 40 percent of students meet the classification of food insecurity. In response to this, Thornton helped coordinate Bobcat Bounty, a student-run food pantry specifically for Texas State students, faculty and staff.
Partnered with the Hays County Food Bank, Bobcat Bounty began in February and planned for 25 people to participate in its first distribution. An estimated 100 students showed up, with the number rising weekly, much like the food bank’s distributions.
“Our goal is to reduce stigma, and I think that has led to the success that we’ve seen so far,” Thornton said. “We haven’t felt the decrease of the donations yet. I think that speaks to the job that the Hays County Food Bank has done protecting us from those effects. There’s no doubt that eventually, we will begin to. We only have a certain capacity that we can serve right now.”
The Southside Community Center, a local non-profit organization that offers housing, food and emergency assistance to those in need is partnered with the Hays County Food Bank. The center reports an increase in people showing up to its daily 5 p.m. meal.
Martin Ford, a shelter manager at Southside Community Center, said he sees the effect of having fewer donations on those who depend on the daily meal. Ford said despite the decline’s effects materializing, each attendee will be adequately cared for and fed by the community center.
“There’s definitely been a huge decline in donations and it has upset some people,” Ford said. “We will never turn anyone away. We will always have something for everybody.”
The Hays County Food Bank accepts monetary donations online and food items at its 220 Herndon St. office.

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