I moved to Austin in 2007 to go to school at the University of Texas at Austin. I didn’t expect to stay in Austin after graduating but after starting A Taste of Koko, I slowly began to meet the people of this city and settle into the community. Over the years I’ve been very fortunate to meet individuals and organizations doing great things in Austin.
When the Ozarka® Brand reached out to me for their Greatness Springs from Here™ campaign to create a sense of connection among people who live in Texas, I immediately said yes! Not only did I grow up drinking Ozarka® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water (did you know it comes from three springs in Texas?), but to have the opportunity to showcase greatness in Austin? This is a piece I’ve been wanting to feature!
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KEEP AUSTIN FED
Keep Austin Fed started in 2004 when Randy Rosens was at a museum gala event at Laguna Gloria. After the event, Randy noticed the caters taking the food to the dumpsters and he asked, “Are you throwing that away?” “There’s a shelter down the street, do you mind if I just take it to them?” He took all the food to the shelter and decided to do it more often.
Upper Crust Bakery (pictured above) was one of the first partners Randy worked with to transport their surplus bread. Randy then met Ira Kaplan and Keep Austin Fed was formed and then registered as a 501(c) organization.
In August 2017, Keep Austin Fed surpassed the milestone of two million pounds of food rescued to provide more than 1.5 million meals for hungry Central Texans since 2014.
“Austin alone accounts for about 200 million pounds of food wasted every year. That’s unacceptable when we have nearly 180,000 people in our own community who don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” said Program Director Lisa Barden.
SOME OF THE 2017 AUSTIN FOOD DONORS
- Snap Kitchen (Arboretum, NW Hills, West 6th, & Westlake)
- Sprinkles Cupcakes
- Tacodeli (Westlake, Crestview, Gracy Farms/Burnet, Lamar, & Spyglass)
- Upper Crust Bakery
- Whole Foods (Bee Caves & Regional Service Center)
WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS DONATED? AND WHEN IS IT DONATED?
Restaurants and catering companies donate food in hot trays, and grocery stores like Trader Joe’s donate 98% perishable items that are mostly produce, dairy, fruits, and vegetables.
Keep Austin Fed does not have storage facilities so food is picked up and delivered the day of.
FOOD RECIPIENT ORGANIZATIONS
- Abiding Love Food Pantry
- Angel House
- Arbor Terrace
- Austin Clubhouse
- Austin Restoration Ministries
- Austin Street Youth Ministries
- Austin Youth River Watch
- Bluebonnet Studios
- Brighter Days Pantry
- Burnet Middle School
- Capitol Studios
- Caritas of Austin
- Casa Marianella
- Covenant United Methodist Church
- Dobie Middle School
- Dove Springs
- Easter Seals
- Garden Terrace
- Gateway Church
- Hospice Austin
- Imagine Art
- La Reunion
- Open Door
- Outcry in the Barrio
- Passion Missions
- Posada Esperanza
- RBJ Center
- SAFE Alliance Children’s Shelter
- SAFE Austin (formerly SafePlace)
- Salvation Army
- Salvation Army Women & Children’s Center
- Sierra Vista
- Skyline Terrace
- Southwest Trails
- Spring Terrace
- St. Ignatius Martyr Food Pantry
- St. Louis Catholic Church
- St. Mark UMC
- Sunrise Community Church
- Trails at Vintage Creek
- Travis Heights Christian Outreach
- Vaughn House
- Vineyard Christian Fellowship
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?
Keep Austin Fed desperately needs volunteers that can help transport food. There are so many businesses that want to donate surplus food but Keep Austin Fed doesn’t have enough volunteers to help pick up and drop off food to hungry communities. All you need is a food handler’s certification and attend a 1.5-2 hour weekend orientation food run. Sign up to volunteer at Keep Austin Fed at keepaustinfed.org/volunteer/.
Join me at @atasteofkoko as I spotlight greatness throughout the city. #localgreatness
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ozarka® . The opinions and text are all mine.