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Food distribution called ‘blessed’ success

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The first massive public food distribution initiative in Bandera County on Wednesday, April 29, at Mansfield Park was such an overwhelming success another distribution is planned for May 27, officials said.

The April food distribution, put on by dozens of public and private entities, featured 140 volunteers handing out close to 100,000 pounds of food to 633 families, feeding 1,697 people in Bandera County.

Carol Randles, who got to Mansfield Park at 7:30 a.m. on the day of the distribution, sat in her pickup near the front of hundreds of vehicles lined up to get food packages.

“This is a blessed event. I live by myself and things have been very hard recently, so this food will really help,” she told a Bandera Bulletin reporter.

Mario Obledo, San Antonio Food Bank’s government and public affairs chief, was impressed by the Bandera County’s first major food giveaway.

“During this coronavirus crisis, it’s all about taking care of our community, the people we cover and serve and in this case, it is Bandera County serving the community with a food distribution. Bandera County Judge Richard Evans, county commissioners, Art Crawford and Silver Sage and others really picked up the torch and ran with it and helped us get a lot of volunteers to help with the distribution,” he said.

Obledo said the coronavirus crisis has more than doubled the demand for help from the food bank in the past several weeks mostly because so many people have lost their jobs.

He said the April 29 food distribution in Bandera County will provide nutrition and a sense of stability for Bandera County residents who took part.

Silver Sage CEO Crawford also was impressed with the event.

“This was the first large food distribution we have had. When we realized a bigger food distribution was needed, we reached out first to other local nonprofits that also had regular food giveaways in the community,” he said.

Crawford said other community partners were quick to join the effort, including Bandera County which allowed organizers to use Mansfield Park and the sheriff’s department and county constables which took care of traffic concerns and other logistical issues.

“The food bank was pleased with the way the Bandera County community handled this first large distribution, and so we are planning another food distribution on May 27,” said Crawford. “I was also very impressed with how fast and how smooth this event went, but even more so with the attitude and stamina of volunteers and the gratitude of the recipients.

“It is an example of heart and soul of the Bandera County community.”

The list of community partners who Crawford recognized for making the event such a success included Lowes Market, Zoka Joes, Big City Bistro, Sue’s Tacos, Bandera Wranglers, Bandera Business Association, Lake Medina Shore Alliance, Bandera Republican Women, Hill Country Young Republicans, the Bandera County Democratic Club, the Bandera Lions Club, Bandera Boys and Girls Clubs and several other organizations.

Distribution team leaders Karyn Utterback, Susan Broa, Dennis Allyn, Heather Jones, Steven Jones, John Cressey-Neely and the Silver Sage support staff also drew applause from Crawford along with the food bank staff.

Donations to Silver Sage can be made in person at 803 Buck Creek Dr. in Bandera and by mail at P.O. Box 1416 Bandera, Texas, 78003.

Assistance can be provided to the food bank online at www.safoodbank.org.