A national foundation has awarded a Texas food bank with a grant to help feed needy families and children at the border.
The South Texas Food Bank, which is part of the Feeding America food bank network, beat out other Texas grant seekers to secure funding from the Medline Foundation.
“Organizations that are addressing food insecurity are prevalent,” said Karen Frey, senior philanthropy manager at Medline, a privately held medical supply company. “There were a couple of grants that were given and the South Texas Food Bank had a very unique approach in the sense that they are addressing the issue among children and specifically for a healthy immune system and right now that is more important than ever especially since children throughout the country aren’t able to get the vaccine yet.”
Some 500 charitable organizations submitted applications for the foundation’s Community Impact Grant program, which was launched in 2018. The Medline Foundation dispersed a total of $250,000.
Other non-profits that received grants include Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalitions of Georgia, Mothers Trust Foundation in California, Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities in Georgia, Equal Hope in Illinois, and MidHudson Chocolate Milk in New York.
“This grant program is such an incredible opportunity to get needed resources into communities, specifically those organizations that are addressing social determinants of health,” Frey told Dallas Express. “That’s really a factor when organizations are applying is that they are addressing social determinants of health, such as health and access to health, education, economic stability, and food insecurity falls into so many of these categories.”
Although the maximum grant amount is $25,000, the South Texas Food Bank received $7,500, which is expected to cover food expenses for three months, according to Francisco Reyes, a grant writer with the South Texas Food Bank.
The food bank plans on providing backpacks with essentials focused on supporting needy children. “We’re going to include the basics in the backpack, which is rice and beans,” he said. “We’re going to have healthy snacks like oatmeal, whole grain wheat bread and we’re going to include a large number of fruits. Our goal is also to provide milk.”
Reyes added that he was surprised when he received the news that the South Texas Food Bank had been among the charities awarded a grant.
“This was the first time that I had applied for this grant and I didn’t really know what I was up against,” Reyes told Dallas Express. “I was very glad. I knew I had a good idea and I was hoping that whoever the team was that selected the recipients would give us an opportunity to show nationally what the South Texas Food Bank has been doing, what we can do, and what our plans are. This area in particular is historically underserved and almost a homogeneous Hispanic area. So, funding opportunities like this are uncommon.”
Last year, the South Texas Food Bank served 130,000 individuals, which is an average of 43,000 people per month, and distributed some 26 million pounds of food.