San Antonio Food Bank to hold emergency distributions this weekend due to winter storm

click to enlarge Instagram / @safoodbankCars line up for an emergency food distribution in San Antonio. The San Antonio Food Bank will spend this weekend filling the cupboards — and bellies — of local families hit hardest by the winter storm gripping much of Texas.The Food Bank will hold seven mega-distributions Friday through Sunday, aiming to help families restock their shelves with food and water.“We have been meeting the emergency food needs all week for the homeless and those in shelters across our community,” Food Bank CEO Eric Cooper said in a release. “Now it’s time to reach those in homes through our distributions…”The Food Bank’s main facility — located at 5200 Enrique M. Barrera Parkway — will host a three-day distribution Friday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It expects to distribute food and water to 2,000 households.NISD Gustafson Stadium — 7001 Culebra Road, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.Rackspace Technology — 1 Fanatical Place, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.River City Church — 16765 Lookout Road, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.Harlandale ISD Memorial Stadium — 1109 Apollo St., from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.Volunteers are in critical need, and those interested in donating their time to support a food distribution can register at the San Antonio Food Bank’s website.The Food Bank recommends those with Internet access pre-registration to receive their food and water. However, those without the ability to pre-register won't be turned away.

Amid pandemic and slow-moving relief legislation, theft of food and hygiene items at historic highs

click image Pexels / Oleg Magnihas reported that retailers, police departments and loss prevention researchers are seeing a nationwide spike in theft of food and hygiene products — data that starkly illustrates the ever-increasing need for federal relief.Thereports that shoplifting is up markedly since the pandemic began — at much higher levels than in past economic crises — but what’s distinctive about this trend is the fact that staples such as bread, pasta and baby formula are what’s being taken.“2020 has been extra difficult because of the coronavirus pandemic,” SA Food Bank CEO Eric Cooper said in September . “We’re seeing more families — those who never thought they’d be in this situation — coming in for help.”The San Antonio Food Bank has seen a rapid increase in need during the pandemic, as more than 625,000 people in the organization’s 16-county service area have received food bank assistance since March “It’s become much harder during the pandemic,” one Washington, D.C. grocery store operator told the. “People will say, ‘I was just hungry.’ And then what do you do?”Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 54 million Americans will struggle with hunger this year — a 45% increase from 2019.While several federal food programs provided billions of dollars in fresh produce, dairy and meat to food banks nationwide, those programs are set to expire at the end of the year — just weeks away.The USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program is one of the largest federal efforts, providing organizations like Feeding Texas and the SA Food Bank with food boxes during the pandemic, but it is already running out of money in some states, according to the $908 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief deal has been proposed to Congress, however little progress has been made on the legislation as folks on both side of the aisle continue to bicker about details.“We’re supposed to be the greatest, richest country in the world, and we don’t have safety nets for when something like this happens?” Danielle Nierenberg, president and founder of food equity and sustainability nonprofit Food Tank, told the“People are being forced to steal when they shouldn’t have to, and that’s a great American tragedy.”

Report: San Antonio event planner CRE8AD8 told feds it had long relationship with local food bank

click to enlarge Instagram / cre8amealIn emails to federal officials, event planner-turned-government contractor Gregorio Palomino said his company had a 12-year relationship with the San Antonio Food Bank, a claim the nonprofit refutes, according to a new Express-News investigation. The revelation comes months after Palomino’s San Antonio-based company, CRE8AD8, won a controversial $39 million contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farmers to Families Food Box Program to distribute food to needy families. Eric Cooper, CEO and president of the Food Bank, told thethat the first he had heard of CRE8AD8 was May 8, when the USDA announced that the company had received the contract.“I had never heard of them, didn’t know who it was,” Cooper said in an interview with the newspaper.Thereports that Palomino contacted the Food Bank shortly after learning of the award, saying that his company had “selected the SAFB due to my relationship with you all over the last 12-plus years, as well as with former and current employees who know me personally.”Cooper told thethat his staff could find no record of a relationship between Palomino and the Food Bank.“When you say you are a supporter, generally we define that as someone that is donating food and time through volunteerism or making a financial contribution, and we could not find that Greg Palomino had done any of those three things,” Cooper said.However, Palomino told thethat he had “written proof of contact and acknowledgment of communication, including time-stamp” from the Food Bank before CRE8AD8 submitted its proposal to the USDA.Palomino also maintained that he has “taped recordings with the SAFB” in which Cooper acknowledges that communication between the two entities “existed before [CRE8AD8] submitted [its] proposal.”Thereports that Palomino didn’t provide any of the above-mentioned proof to the paper. However, the paper said CRE8AD8 has submitted “written proof of documentation” to a congressional panel conducting a probe of the USDA's food box program.Palomino has been under a microscope since CRE8AD8 improbably landed its massive federal contract despite a lack of food-logistics experience. Media outlets have reported on the firm's history of questionable claims about past clients, alleged lack of licensing and its inability to deliver on terms of its deal with the USDA.