How the SA Food Bank will handle the next emergency

In the last year, the food bank expanded its kitchen to make more meals in the event of another emergency.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of last February’s freeze, KSAT is shining a spotlight on the organizations that helped us get through it, like the San Antonio Food Bank.

SAN ANTONIO – As we approach the one-year anniversary of last February’s freeze, KSAT is shining a spotlight on the organizations that helped us get through it.

The San Antonio Food Bank is one example.

“It was such a level of disparity that seemed unimaginable,” said San Antonio Food Bank CEO Eric Cooper.

Cooper said the weather emergency and subsequent power and water outages forced tens of thousands of additional San Antonians to turn to the organization.

“I got a call…from a husband and father who said to me, ‘look, my wife and I are positive with COVID. We’re in our bed trying to stay isolated from our kids. And, the power went off and our kids are cold. They’re knocking at our door, begging us to come into the bedroom to get in bed with us to stay warm.’”

Stories such as that forced Cooper, workers, and volunteers at the food bank to pivot.

Ordinarily, the food bank provides groceries to needy families. But considering many in the community didn’t have food or water, it would have been pointless for the food bank to give them food that needed to be prepared. Therefore, the food bank began serving fresh, ready-to-eat meals.

“Literally, in three days, we served 120,000 people.”

That’s a large number, considering the food bank provides food for 60,000 individuals or families per week. However, last year’s experience inspired Cooper and his workers to pivot and meet greater demand.

In the last year, the food bank expanded its kitchen, to make more meals for people in the event of another emergency.

“We’re so blessed over the last year to complete our new Mays Family Culinary Center, which has the capacity to do those…meals.”

When it comes to water, Cooper admits last year’s scarcity of the precious resource has taught the food bank to stay stocked up year-round.

“Now, we hold on to the water. It’s not just about getting through the hurricane season, but it’s getting through the winter.”


About the Author:

Stephania Jimenez is an anchor on The Nightbeat. She began her journalism career in 2006, after graduating from Syracuse University. She's anchored at NBC Philadelphia, KRIS in Corpus Christi, NBC Connecticut and KTSM in El Paso. Although born and raised in Brooklyn, Stephania considers Texas home. Stephania is bilingual! She speaks Spanish.