South Texas Food Bank agency conference thanks IBC, Commerce Bank

by Salo Otero

The  Laredo-based South  Texas  Food  Bank hosted  a one-day conference on April 15  at  the IBC Annex  on  Jacaman Road  for  the more than 80 affiliated agency members   who help distribute food  to carry the  STFB mission of  feeding the hungry  in eight counties  from Rio Grande City to Del Rio.  More than 100 agency  coordinators and assistants  attended the annual  event.

“From  one  bank (the South Texas Food Bank) to another bank (IBC and Commerce),”  a  sincere and deeply-appreciated thank you  to community-minded  IBC and Commerce Bank presidents Dennis Nixon and Ignacio  Urrabazo  for the facility and  meal  on conference day.  Please keep a  continued  "interest" in the South Texas Food Bank.

 STFB  agency director Elia Solis called  the event,  “A  great success. This was  our  mandatory conference-workshop  in cooperation with   USDA and  Feeding  America.  With a poverty  rate at 30-plus percent  and difficult economic  times,  the  need in our service area is huge for the  basic of  all -- food.”  The STFB receives product from USDA through membership  in  the  Texas Food Bank  Network and  national Feeding America.

Alfonso Casso Jr. ,  food bank executive director, lauded the agencies, “For the extremely  important work you do in getting product to the needy. Without you we  would not be as successful .  You are blessing  to the people we serve.   We need more groups like you.”   Representatives  from Webb, Zapata, Jim Hogg, Starr, Dimmitt, Maverick, Val Verde and Kinney Counties  attended.

The conference  included  presentations  by  Celia Cole,  director of the Texas Food Bank Network; Jesse Olivarez and Marissa Alvarez of the STFB staff on SNAP (formerly food stamps);  Dr. Erika Cavazos-Juarez of the Laredo Health Department on nutrition, health, wellness;  Cindy Liendo  of the food bank staff, on civil rights; Jose Medrano,  of Enroll America, on the Affordable  Care Act;  Roberto Cuellar,  Laredo ISD  Child Nutrition director, on summer feeding programs;  and Solis on CSFP, TexCap rules  and regulations. Casso also did an interactive presentation with some agency representatives. He instructed them how to prepare MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) that were donated to the food bank.

The South Texas Food Bank,  open since 1989  in cooperation with H.E.B. and celebrating  25 years of service,  is located  in west Laredo,  1907 Freight at Riverside,  open Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to noon and  1 to 5 p.m.  It can be reached at  (956) 726-3120 or  www.southtexasfoodbank.org and on twitter and facebook.   The STFB distributes supplemental food monthly to 30,000 families, 7,000 elderly, 7,000 children and 500 veterans and their widows. Sixty percent of the budget comes from state and federal government,  the other  40 percent from charitable  donations.  Tax deductible contributions  can be mailed  to PO Box 2007, Laredo, Tex., 78044.

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