Free Thanksgiving Meals in Central Texas, from Food Bank

Thanksgiving Feast of SharingMany of us are making do with less this year. Some of us less than others.

I’ve learned that we get a wide range of people who come across this blog, so we can’t just post “how to help” content without also listing “how to get help” as well.

So I’ve divided this special Thanksgiving post into three categories. Why Help, How to Help, and How to Get Help. Here’s hoping you’re in the middle.

WHY HELP

This one’s easy. The Capital Area Food Bank has created this amazing site called Hunger is Unacceptable. Consider these facts from the site… then think about you’re going to spend your Thanksgiving.

  • 1 in 5 people Austin food bank serves experience the physical pain of hunger.
  • 41% of Austin food bank clients are children.
  • Almost half of Austin food bank clients have at least one working adult at home.

HOW TO HELP

The good news is, this one is hard. Nonprofits tell me that volunteers spots for Thanksgiving meal events fill up by mid-October, so if you haven’t signed up yet, you’re probably too late.

But, of course, there’s a very simple way to redeem your tardiness. Donate. Here. Done. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

HOW TO GET HELP

Here is a list created by the Capital Area Food Bank of places where anyone can get a free Thanksgiving Meal in and around Austin. Many of these places offer clothing and other items besides food.

11/18/2010 Thursday

Travis County Health and Human Services, NW Rural Community Center
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
(512) 267-3245
18649 FM1431 Ste 6A Jonestown Austin, TX 78645
Open to the Public – Free

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Montopolis Recreation Center
6:00 p.m.
(512) 385-5931
1200 Montopolis Dr. Austin, TX 78741
Open to the Public – Free

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Givens Recreation Center
7:00 p.m.
(512) 928-1982
3811 E. 12th St. Austin, TX 78721
Open to the Public – Free

11/19/2010 Friday

Travis County Health and Human Services, EAST RURAL COMMUNITY CENTER
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
(512) 272-5561 / 278-0414
600 W. Carrie Manor St. Manor Austin, TX 78653
Primarily for Precinct 1 – No one turned away

Southside Community Center
6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
(512) 392-6694
518 S. Guadalupe St. San Marcos, TX 78666
Open to the Public – Free

11/20/2010 Saturday

Rosewood-Zaragosa Neighborhood Center (sponsored by Mt. Carmel Grand Lodge)
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
(512) 972-6740
2808 Webberville Rd. Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, CANTU/PAN AM RECREATION CENTER
11:00 a.m. –2:00 p.m.
(512) 476-9193
2100 E. 3rd Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free

Helping Hands Center
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
(512) 472-2298
1179 San Bernard St. Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free. Meal at Olivet Baptist Church

Shoreline Christian Center at East Campus
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
(512) 983-1048
East 6th and San Marcos St Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free. Distribution of 1000 sleeping bags, backpacks and socks

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
5:00 p.m.
(512) 251-0698
14311 Wells Port Dr. Austin, TX 78728
Open to the Public – Free

11/21/2010 Sunday

Austin Area Interreligious Ministries (AAIM) at University Baptist Church
Meal follows 3:30 p.m. Service
2130 Guadalupe Austin, TX 78705
Pot Luck served after the service -not a meal

11/22/2010 Monday

Mobile Loaves & Fishes at First Baptist Church
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
(512) 328-7299
First Baptist Church 901 Trinity St. Austin, TX 78701
Open to the Public – Free

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Virginia L. Brown Recreation Center
6:00 p.m.
(512) 974-7865
7500 Blessing Ave. Austin TX 78752
Open to the Public – Free

St. John Community Center
5:59 p.m. – Food Gone
(512) 972-5159
7500 Blessing Ave. Austin, TX 78752
Open to the Public – Free

11/23/2010 Tuesday

United Way / HEB Feast of Caring at Palmer Events Center
4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
(512) 421-1000-HEB Public Affairs
900 Barton Springs Rd Austin, TX 78704
Open to the Public – Free

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Dove Springs Recreation Center
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
(512) 447-5875
5801 Ainez Dr. AustinTX78744
Open to the Public – Free

11/24/2010 Wednesday

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Parque Zaragosa Recreation Center
9:00 a.m. Service Project/ Lunch to follow
(512) 472-7142
2608 Gonzales St. Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free. For teens only

Baptist Community Center
1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
(512) 472-7592
2000 E. 2nd St. Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free

11/25/2010 Thursday

North Austin Christian Church
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
(512) 836-3282
1734 Rutland Dr. Austin, TX 78758
No one turned away – primarily for community around the church.


St. Louis Catholic Church

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
(512) 454-0384
Wozniak Hall 7601 Burnet Rd Austin, TX 78757
Open to the Public – Free

Bethany United Methodist Church

11:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
(512) 258.6017
10010 Anderson Mill Rd. Austin, TX 78750
Open to the Public – Free

St. Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
Noon – 2:00 p.m.
(512) 476-6757
605 W. 15th St. Austin, TX 78701
Open to the Public – Free


The Salvation Army Social Service Center

Noon – 5:00 p.m.
(512) 476-1111
501 E. 8th St. Austin, TX 78701
Open to the Public – Free

Ministry of Challenge
Noon – 3:00 p.m.
(512) 370-3960
1500 E. 12th Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free

Santa Cruz Catholic Church, Buda
Noon
(512) 415-4012
1100 Main St. Buda, TX 78610
Must RSVP

St. William’s Catholic Church
Noon – 2:00 p.m.
(512) 255-4473
620 Round Rock West Dr. 78681 Round Rock, TX 78610
Open to the Public – Free

For more information on how to get food, visit www.austinfoodbank.org/get-help/

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(In)Fighting for East Austin’s kids: Grant applications for Promise Neighborhood planning due today

Okay, an amendment to a previous post…

Backstory: In March, I wrote a post about Southwest Key’s efforts to improve the educational opportunities and help strengthen the community for the people living where Southwest Key lives, Central East Austin around the former Johnston High School, now Eastside Memorial High School.

In that post, I talked about learning how Southwest Key established the East Austin Children’s Promise, which it modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone. The HCZ itself serves as a model for the federal government’s new Promise Neighborhoods planning grants, which will offer about $500,000 to about 20 community efforts like HCZ around the country. Southwest Key — the Juan Sanchez team — is applying for a planning grant.

A few weeks after writing that post, I had lunch with Allen Weeks, a community organizer who lives in the St. John’s neighborhood in Northeast Austin, and has also worked to improve educational opportunities and help strengthen the community for people living where he lives. The Weeks team has organized a large collaboration to apply for a Promise Neighborhoods planning grant as well, this one for the Northeast Austin neighborhood around Reagan High School.

I wondered if it helped or hindered Austin’s chances to have two grant applications competing among the 900+ nationwide. And regardless of that, does the competition help East Austin?

Applications due today: Recent Statesman news stories, editorials and blog posts about the Promise Neighborhoods planning grants pick Weeks’ team over Sanchez’, saying that the former effort was better planned and includes more heavy-hitting collaborators, including AISD, UT, City of Austin, St. David’s Foundation, United Way Capital Area and more. They also criticize the Sanchez team for not being as well prepared and for being sore losers.

All this just substantiates the point I was trying to make in my March blog post: In a city the size of Austin and considering the plight of so many East Austin students, are we really allowed infighting? Still?

I think even AISD Superintendent Maria Carstarphen said something along those lines, too. At the same time, though, Carstarphen inherited what many believe to be a history of AISD’s inability to address the educational needs of East Austin.  Maybe the AISD of the past could have evolved its approach to account for the increasingly diverse and urban population?

AISD needs to do that now, and working with both Promise Neighborhood grant applicants should be a top priority. I’d love to know exactly what each team was asking from AISD. “Support” can come in many forms; surely AISD can support two efforts in some way.

I’d also love to know more about why the Statesman thinks the Northeast Austin proposal was stronger. It’s been reported that Southwest Key didn’t submit its proposal to AISD until the last minute, in June, but it was also reported that Sanchez said he’d been trying to meet with Southwest Key for months. And it’s not like AISD didn’t know about Southwest Key’s charter  school; the East Austin College Prep academy enrolled 90 6th-graders in 2009 and now has a waiting list for its 6th and 7th grades.

The only amendment I can add to this story is, maybe Carstarphen needs to include AISD among her mention of the infighting adults.

PS 1: Here’s a listing of some of the communities Austin is up against. There were 941 “intents to apply.” The grant applications are due today, June 28. Grants will be made available this September.

PS 2: Also, here’s what I read for fun on a Sunday night: A link to the PDF of FAQs about the Promise Neighborhoods planning grant applications.

PS 3: After spending hours with both Weeks and Juan Sanchez, Southwest Key’s CEO, I got the impression I was looking at two sides of the same coin. Both are effective and passionate community leaders, but each approaches their work with completely different strategies. It’s worth getting to know both of them better to learn which of their two distinctively different leadership styles is more effective for East Austin in the long run.

Hundreds attend Vivir Unidos party…er, volunteer fair

Last week , we participated in the Vivir Unidos volunteer fair for Hispanics produced by the overworked and underpaid folks from United Way and Hands on Central Texas. Between all the amazing food, the music, the socializing, the dancing… seriously, weren’t we supposed to have been there to “improve Hispanic engagement?” Blah blah blah, this was a party.

There were at least 30 nonprofits represented, and every time I strolled by them I heard some genuine conversations going on. Sebastian Puente, who also helped plan the event and was there last night, and I estimated that there we at least 400 people there. It was a packed house. And everyone seemed to get the message of the night: Dig in and get involved. Si se puede.

Congratulations to everyone who helped plan and support the event! Below are some links to coverage from news outlets. Are there more?

Statesman: United Way Reaches Out to Area Hispanics with Vivir Unidos

Ahora Si: Buscan a latinos con ganas de ayudar a su comunidad

Ahora Si: Photos from the event

P.S. We’ll have tons of photos of the Vivir Unidos event in our next issue. Don’t forget to sign up for a free subscription!

JUNE 7: Austin Father’s Parade & Festival

Fathers Parade and Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As far as I know, there is no parade for mothers. Fine.

But this Sunday there will be a parade for dads… and grandfathers and uncles, too. The River City Youth Foundation will host its 9th Annual Father’s Parade and Festival this Sunday, with the parade started at Mendez Middle School and ending at River City Youth Foundation where the other festivities will take place.

This is such a cute idea. There’ll be son/daughter/father competitions with prizes (top prize is $500); free barbeque, free snowcones, a writing contest for the kids, and a “mom’s beauty area.” (This last one intrigues me.)

Here’s the info:

11:15 Line up for parade. Anyone can join.

12:00 Parade starts

12:30 BBQ and Festival begin (shuttle provided from RCYF to Mendez parking lot)

4:00 Event ends

Register by email to RCYFPadres@gmail.com or call 512-440-1111.

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River City Youth Foundation is a home-grown nonprofit that serves what is probably the poorest neighborhood in Austin, Dove Springs. The statistics about Dove Springs are sobering, and you can only guess what it’s doing to the kids in that neighborhood.

Through the many people that have shared its vision, River City Youth Foundation has been able to give low-income, high-risk youth the opportunities and infrastructure to break the mindset of poverty, illiteracy and crime in their communities.

By attending the Father’s event this Sunday, you’ll show RCYF some support and learn a little more about the challenges of living in Dove Springs.

Red McCombs: “I want the joy of giving while I’m living”

I grew up in the shadow of that big American Indian chief statue on NW Loop 410 in San Antonio, the one that sits on the Red McCombs car dealership, so I’ve known the name Red McCombs all my life. For a while, I thought he was an Indian chief.

I was able to meet him this past weekend (he is not, BTW, and Indian chief) and the emotional and inspiring YMBL Sunshine Camps grand opening celebration. McCombs donated about $1 million toward that project, which opens next week to about 70 at-risk Austin kids with high leadership potential.

(There’s a concert tonight to benefit the camp tonight at Umlauf Sculpture Gardens. Tickets $10 for teens, and $25-$75 for adults. Kids under 12 are FREE. It’s from 6 -9 pm. Great place to take kids, see sculpture, have some wine/beer/appetizers… consider.)

ANYWAY, doing what it is that I do, I interviewed him. He’s got such a great voice and presence (he was one of the best car salesman in the country, remember?) that video was the best medium.

And he did not disappoint:

So why would a local restaurant donate to a local nonprofit anyway?

Yesterday, I posted about Rio Grande’s Philanthropy Week, during which they’re donating 10% of bar sales during happy hour to a different nonprofit each day. You can see the details here.

Lots of local businesses contribute a portion of their sales to a local nonprofit from time to time. Why? Is there anything in it for them besides the potential for profit?

The fact is, it takes lots of planning and coordination with a local nonprofit – and probably an accountant – to make the whole thing work. So it can’t all just be about attracting customers. Plus, if you do use it to attract customers, the fact is you’re only going to attract a certain kind of customer – the kind that has a conscience. Most other restaurants don’t care if their customers have consciences or not; they kinda just want your business.

So it is special when a restaurant hosts a “philanthropy week,” like Rio Grande is doing this week. The thing is, restaurant owners are people, too. Duh. When they feel compelled to give back, they usually do so through their business, creating a win-win for the community: You get a nice drink, they get a little money, and a local charity gets a little money. Why not?

Here’s a real live restaurant owner – a person! – talking about why his restaurant, Rio Grande, is giving back.

Tell It to the Troops

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D), a national nonprofit with an office in Austin, is sending a CD of your recorded messages to our military troops. Now is your chance to tell our servicemen and servicewomen how much you appreciate their sacrifice and dedication. These greetings from home and words of gratitude could be an effective and poignant boost to morale. RFB&D is hoping to find at least 250 Austinites to record for this effort, and that means you. Go ahead. Say thank you. Recordings can be scheduled from April 20th through April 25th. See Tributes for Troops for registration information.