Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the number of families in San Antonio and surrounding areas needing food assistance has nearly doubled.
This was one of the driving factors that led the NSA-Texas Directorate of Engagement & Policy (E&P Texas) to host its recent Morale Building Activity (MBA) program at a San Antonio area food bank.
“You can’t watch the news without seeing the dire situation some Americans find themselves in,” said Diane Desmond, director of E&P Texas. “If there’s something you can do to help, even if it’s small, why not do it?”
Despite the pandemic, E&P Texas was still able to fulfill one of its key functions — community engagement.
While adhering to thorough health and safety protocols, a team of 11 E&P Texas volunteers, consisting of both NSA civilian and military personnel, assisted with the preparation of 576 boxes intended for senior citizens from Bexar County and 16 neighboring counties.
Each box contained enough food for a week, and included packaged items like beans, rice, and canned vegetables. Volunteer activities ranged from assembling boxes and unpacking food pallets to adding food to boxes and sorting nutritional fliers.
E&P Texas’ MBA offered the volunteers fun with a purpose. The event was a welcomed change — not only were volunteers able to take a break from their workstations, but they got an opportunity to get to know their teammates and help support a worthy cause.
The team ended their day on a high note by reciting the food bank’s mantra: “Fighting hunger, feeding hope.”
“I feel volunteering in times like these is important. There are others out there who have had to deal with some hard times during the COVID crisis,” E&P Texas’ SPC Daniel Dixon said. “The food bank does a lot to help these people out — volunteers ensure that they have the means to continue to help.”
Many of the volunteers were moved by the overall impact and mission of the food bank and pledged to volunteer again in the future.
Founded in 1980, this particular San Antonio food bank serves one of the largest areas in Southwest Texas, providing support to local families, individuals, seniors, children, and military members in need. While its No. 1 priority is to combat hunger, it also offers additional resources, such as education and advocacy programs aimed at helping people in the San Antonio area become more self-sufficient.