Like all of you, Hungry Souls is experiencing opportunities and challenges as we navigate through the quarantine. The great news is that we are still able to serve our Hungry Souls families and have added to our client roster in the midst of these historic circumstances. The everyday operation of our ministry, however, looks very different than it a few short weeks ago. We are experiencing pressure points in four areas.

  • Families – Our client roster has increased by 50% in the last three weeks. Austin area families are experiencing unemployment and reductions in work hours at unprecedented levels. Hungry Souls is contacted daily by families and schools looking for help. We are very glad to say that so far, we have not had to turn anyone away.
  • Food – You are aware of the shortages on grocery store shelves. Our normal vendor is struggling to meet our increasing needs. With everyone staying at home, food drives have ended for the time being, so that is not an option for sourcing our food. We are having success with restaurant suppliers and are very grateful for their help. The challenge with them is that they supply our orders in bulk. Ten-pound packages of ground beef and 50 lb. bags of rice must be portioned out for our families. These large quantities have also created a storage issue. We have purchased an additional refrigerator/freezer, but we really need a third.
  • Funds – We have not yet turned away any families. However, we may eventually have to do so. In addition to having more clients, food costs have increased 70%. We’ve had a very generous corporate donation. In addition, Randy Rogers (who did a benefit concert for us in the fall) did a successful online fundraiser for us. Honestly, it’s difficult to ask for money in a season when many of our regular donors are struggling. However, we are in need of more monthly donors. You can help us spread the word to those who are looking for a way to serve during this crisis. Share this blog on your social media platforms, email our donor page to friends. Every small amount will make it possible for us to keep saying, “yes!”
  • Folks – We have had to reconfigure our weekly routine to comply with the quarantine and manage our grocery order. An additional crew is needed weekly to divide our bulk orders into family-sized portions. We have also suspended delivery to all but one school in north Austin. All north clients pick up their food there. All families living south pick up at our pantry location. Pickups are normally handled by school staff, but we now need to staff our pickup at Fairview with volunteers. This creates opportunities for folks to get out of the house and serve. We provide masks and gloves and comply with six-foot spacing. At pickup, groceries are placed in the trunks of clients’ cars without any face to face contact. If you are healthy and willing to serve in an environment that complies with Austin’s quarantine, we would love to have you as a part of our team. Find a signup here. Tuesday evening volunteers package our bulk orders into family sized portions. Wednesday morning volunteers pack menus and ingredients for pickup. Thursday volunteers distribute meals to families. Wouldn’t you welcome a fun opportunity to safely socialize and contribute to the community during this crisis?

We are aware that many of you are struggling during this season. Thank you for any consideration you may give to reaching out to others who are also hurting. In the midst of so much fear and pain, aren’t we continually blessed to see how so many are giving sacrificially to their neighbors? Those are the best stories coming out of all of this. We pray we do well at loving God by loving others in this season.