Protein crisis grips local food pantries

Savanna Gregg/Burnet Bulletin
Due to a scarcity of nonperishable food items at the Central Texas Food Bank, local food pantries are experiencing a protein shortage this month. LACare Food Pantry Director Lottie McCorkle and her volunteers, along with the Burnet County Hunger Alliance, are asking their communities to donate extra packs and cans of tuna, cans of SPAM and Vienna sausages, and canned beans to help fill their shelves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Savanna Gregg

Staff Writer

Burnet Bulletin

As Burnet County food pantries continue to combat the hunger epidemic, officials have unveiled a new gap in the type of food needed locally and have asked for the public's help to donate more protein-rich, nonperishable items.

Although Highland Lakes food pantries receive food from the Central Texas Food Bank on a regular basis, members of the Burnet County Hunger Alliance revealed the facilities have received considerably less canned protein this year.

Officials explained that the decrease in proteins have affected operations at the pantries and ultimately the health of those who rely on them.

“All of the food banks in the area are in the same boat; we are in a crisis of needing proteins,” said Burnet's LACare Director Lottie McCorkle.

The alliance meets every month to discuss their methods of fighting hunger in their communities.

In the spirit of September's Hunger Awareness Month, they are asking those more fortunate to help those in need by donating nonperishable proteins ahead of any other canned goods.

In 2018, LACare served 2,376 families, 6,958 individuals, and 139 new families in need of assistance in the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District — an approximately 750-square-mile region reaching from Tow to Briggs. Just last month, LACare helped 338 families (including 29 new families), consisting of 989 individuals.

“We are all very fortunate to receive food from the Central Texas Food Bank,” Marble Falls Helping Center Director Sam Pearce added. “But this year, we've gotten zero cans of tuna, and zero cans of protein beans like pinto, due to the supplies they were able to get.”

The Marble Falls Helping Center assists 500 individuals a month, and Pearce said this summer, their pantry has been supplied enough protein to distribute three days' worth to a family, when their usual protein allotment would last weeks to a month.

“We have had to spend our own money to buy these products, and we are willing to, but we shouldn't have to,” Pearce said.

Along with canned tuna and chicken, Pearce and McCorkle said families enjoy receiving cans of SPAM and Vienna Sausages, which are easy for individuals to transport, and a quick way to fill their bellies.

“Many elderly people enjoy those type of soft foods as well,” Pearce said.

Pearce and staff at the Marble Falls Helping Center eagerly provide five hundred meals per month to families in the community every day, but Pearce says their goal is to eliminate hunger completely.

“Our big mission is to take food out of the equation,” Pearce said. “Of all the other bills people have to worry about like electricity, phone bills, utilities, food should not be an issue.”

“It is a need, not a want,” McCorkle added.

Pearce and McCorkle said they, along with other members of the Burnet County Hunger Alliance, want to challenge the community to combat the hunger among their neighbors.

“If each person would just bring two cans of tuna to their local pantry, we could very quickly solve this problem,” Pearce said.

Along with canned tuna, chicken, and hearty beans, the two said the pantries are also in need of pasta like spaghetti, macaroni, egg noodles, and other similar items.

To help counteract the protein shortage throughout local food pantries, individuals may stop by at any time of the day to drop off extra nonperishable protein and pasta at the following local pantry locations:

 

  • Marble Falls Helping Center, 1315 Broadway, Marble Falls. 830-693-5689

  • LACare Food Pantry, 507 Buchanan Drive, Burnet. 512-756-4422

  • Joseph's Food Pantry, 706 North Phillips Ranch Road, Granite Shoals. 830-220-2344

  • First Baptist Church Marble Falls, 901 La Ventana Drive. 830-693-4381

  • Marble Falls Church of Christ, 711 Broadway. 830-693-5575

  • Chapel of the Hills, 19135 SH 29, Buchanan Dam. 512-793-2453

  • Sharing the Harvest, 3435 West RR 1431, Kingsland. 325-388-0620

 

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