In response to the news, the San Antonio Food Bank on Friday announced a $23.5 million plan to combat local poverty using a pair of new weapons — a culinary center and low-cost housing complex, both slated to break ground next year.
“We can’t expect to solve hunger with a canned good anymore,” SAFB CEO Eric Cooper told the Current. “The solution needs to be comprehensive and holistic and address those basic needs, including food."
A new $16 million culinary center will allow SAFB to provide five times the number of meals it currently serves, bringing the total number to 50,000 per day. Located at SAFB's Westside campus, the 60,000-square-foot center will allow chefs to prepare food for a variety of programs, including feeding hungry families, young children and migrant refugees.
SAFB will also build a $7.5 million apartment complex in New Braunfels, partnering with local organizations to provide l0w-income residents with training, counseling and programming they need to thrive independently.
"Many people don’t realize the San Antonio Food Bank serves 16 counties, and Comal County is one of the fastest growing in the nation," Cooper said. "That growth has caused rents to skyrocket, so many New Braunfels residents can no longer afford to live in New Braunfels."
Fundraising for both projects is already underway, Cooper said. He'd like both to open both by 2021.
The plans have been more than a decade in the making, Cooper said, adding that the Census results was heartbreaking enough to speed up their announcement.
"There are many families who are working but just not making enough," he added. "We’re not talking about the haves and have-nots anymore, we’re talking about sustainability. It's up to us to change, but at the end of the day, the Food Bank only succeeds in what the community supports us in."
This is a developing story, check back for updates.