Campus student center needs volunteers; free vouchers are available today for families in need.
By Ryan A. Flournoy
The Church of Christ Student Center sponsors its last monthly food fair of the year, Feed the Hungry, 7-11 a.m. Saturday in Lot 1 north of Temple Beth-el at West Ashby and Belknap places.
The center needs volunteers to help distribute food.
The San Antonio Food Bank will deliver one 18-wheeler’s load of food 7:30-8:30 a.m. Dec. 12 to the food fair, said Jo Williams, Church of Christ administrator.
Volunteer duties consist of controlling traffic, collecting vouchers and distributing food.
Shifts are 7-9 a.m. and 9-11 a.m. and include cleaning up during and after the event.
Food distribution typically ends around 10 a.m. depending on the food bank’s delivery.
Volunteers are allowed to park their vehicles on the lot and are authorized to remove and replace cones to enter Lot 1.
Volunteers are welcome to bring their children, who can serve as runners to help distribute food, Williams said.
“We are hoping for at least 10 more volunteers to help us with food distribution,” Williams said. “Our clients include low-income families, people riding the VIA bus and those who are homeless.”
Those without a voucher — which were available at the center Monday through Thursday — must wait to receive food until volunteers assist those with vouchers, Williams said.
However, there has always been an overabundance of food, so everybody should leave satisfied, she said.
“The issue of a food fair is that it is a bulk distribution … you want people to leave with cases of food,” Williams said.
The Church of Christ Student Center has been sponsoring the monthly food fair since 2009, serving as an official pantry location for the food bank.
Feed the Hungry helped feed 6,600 households last year with a total of around 1,900 clients.
For every voucher collected, a client can receive as much as they can safely transport.
“Each voucher represents a household’s worth of food,” Williams said. “They pull up in their vehicles and we yell ‘pop your trunk’ and we load their trunks with as much as they can manage.”
Clients don’t get out of their vehicles, and everybody gets one of every product.
About 300 vouchers are available every month, bringing in at least 285 vehicles driving through and 30-35 walk-up clients with no vouchers.
“It’s amazing how many people show up,” nursing sophomore Murielle Naniken said. “There seem to be a lot more hungry people every month.”
The food fairs will continue next year, in 2016 through the Church of Christ Student Center and San Antonio Food Bank on a quarterly system instead of monthly.
For more information about Feed the Hungry or to volunteer, call Williams at the Church of Christ Student Center at 210-736-6750.