Preparations for Hands for Hope 2014 began in the months leading up to Thanksgiving, with local Episcopal schools and churches gathering donations and traditional Thanksgiving staples to make a Thanksgiving meal a reality for families who would otherwise not have one.
On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, more than 140 volunteers from the Episcopal schools and churches of the Austin convocation, board members, and other friends of El Buen came together to make hunger take a holiday. Together, they gifted more than 1,000 families in need all the essentials for a nutritious Thanksgiving meal at their own homes. Watch the slideshow of photos:
Photography by siLOVEPhotography & Sarah Harper
A special thanks to all those who participated in the Food Drive and the Turkey Feather Drive to make Hands for Hope 2014 possible:
THANK YOU FOR MAKING HUNGER TAKE A HOLIDAY!
The holiday season is upon us–a time to reflect on God’s infinite love, cherish our loved ones, and resolve to give of our time, talent and treasure to causes that are dear to our hearts.
As you consider giving back in 2015, we hope you will join our cause. From helping in our food pantry to teaching English to adult learners or tutoring our younger students, volunteering at El Buen Samaritano will provide you with an enriching life experience while you help strengthen underserved families in Austin.
Here are some of the ways you can help in 2015:
FOOD PANTRY VOLUNTEER
El Buen Samaritano’s Food Pantry is the key component to our basic needs program. Food Pantry volunteers help to sort food, stock pantry shelves and work directly with clients, helping them to assemble bags of healthy food and recipes for them to take home to their families. Volunteers are a friendly face to our clients as they are experiencing difficult times.
ESL INSTRUCTOR OR TEACHING ASSISTANT
By committing a few hours a week, you can strengthen our community and share the tools of the English language to a classroom of motivated adult learners. Volunteers will instruct a class of 10-25 adult students in English as a Second Language using our easy-to-follow curriculum.
* Prior teaching experience is helpful but not required. Teachers should have a willingness to learn, be patient and love working with people. No Spanish language skills required.
Available Class Times
YOUTH ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS
In the spring of 2015 El Buen will offer two youth enrichment programs. These programs focus on improving students’ academics and their overall outlook on learning, as well as engagement in enrichment opportunities and physical activity. These programs serve to fill critical out-of-school time with learning-rich activities and outdoor exercise that every child wants and needs.
Tutoring/Homework Help Program
Kids Club Program
HANDS FOR HOPE 2015 PLANNING VOLUNTEER
Every year, local schools, churches and many members of the Austin community join our efforts to make hunger take a hoilday through El Buen’s Hands for Hope Thanksgiving event. This coming year, we’re calling on the community months in advance to be even more involved in helping us plan and execute this great Thanksgiving meal distribution to more than 1,000 families in need.
Hands for Hope 2015 planning volunteers will:
Click here to RSVP to our Spring 2015 Volunteer Info Session!
Feel the fire
Stay hungry you’re alone
This is the chorus to the epically cheesy 1984 hit by Twisted Sister, Stay Hungry . I have to confess that I have no idea what singer Dee Snider thought he was talking about, but I do know that for a large percentage of American families, his advice is shockingly redundant. According to one USDA study, as many as 1 out of every 7 American families faces food insecurity.
This means: you’re riding the bus, and the chorus of seven screaming kids behind you is driving you crazy as you attempt to concentrate on the important work you’re doing on your phone (updating facebook), and one of those kids may be getting off at the next stop to head home and find nothing in the fridge; just a freaked out mom, who doesn’t even have a couple of dollars for terrible, diabetes-inducing fast food. Actual HUNGER. Here in Austin.
So who’s going to fix this problem? Lawmakers continue to cut food assistance programs, sustainable incomes seem to be steadily receding, so that leaves… pretty much just you. Luckily for the rest of us, you are actually doing something about it.
So, I can imagine life getting pretty boring for superman. He wakes up in the fortress of solitude — yawn — goes downstairs, makes some coffee, realizes there’s no milk, flies thousands of miles to Randall’s, notices a robbery in progress, bends a bar of iron around the perpetrators so that that the little old lady can safely recover her purse, blows out the flames of a burning building, rescues a kitten from a tree, gets a 12 ounce carton of milk, flies home, and checks his email. Just another morning… for him.
In the same way, life at a non-profit can be a bit of a bore. Hunt for parking, walk past a bunch of folks in the lobby waiting for their number to be called, peek into a classroom of terrified looking students on their first day of English class, head for the food pantry to lift some boxes. Yeah, it feels nice to spend a day off volunteering, rather than just laying on the couch, but it’s nothing special.
Except that each of the students in the classroom you just passed is about to begin a journey which will end in the ability to feed his or her kids; to get a job doing something other than backbreaking labour for a fraction of the minimum wage. Except that over in the clinic an early case of pneumonia is about to get caught, a man is bursting into tears because the test results came back negative, and all those bored looking people staring up at the number sign in the lobby are waiting to get something HUGE: food. That means that when little junior comes home tonight, he won’t be that one in 7 who goes to bed hungry.
And who’s responsible? You. Actually YOU reading this, every single El Buen donor, volunteer and employee: you personally were part of feeding that kid; you literally had a hand in saving that life. If you are one of the many who keep these doors open, these shelves stocked, these students on their toes — than thank you. Good work y’all.