Fall for El Buen this season!

Now that summer is over at El Buen, we’re excited to begin a new fall semester full of opportunities for the community to get involved in! We’re looking for compassionate volunteers to assist in our food pantry and lend a helping hand at this year’s Hands for Hope.



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.

Schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday 9am – 12pm

El Buen Samaritano’s Hands for Hope is an annual community-wide event raising awareness of a serious issue happening in our own city: hunger. The event gathers donations of the traditional foods served during Thanksgiving and distributes them to Austin families in need for Thanksgiving celebrations in their own homes.
We’re looking for volunteers to help us register eligible families who will receive Thanksgiving baskets the Saturday before Thanksgiving. There are multiple registration dates, so we have plenty of opportunities for you to choose from!
  • Oct. 1-Nov. 13, Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays 9am – 12pm
  • Saturday, Nov. 8 SHIFT 1 from 8 am – 10:30am, SHIFT 2 from 10am – 12:30pm
  • Saturday, Nov. 15 SHIFT 1 from 8 am – 10:30am, SHIFT 2 from 10am – 12:30pm
Apply online today to join our amazing group of volunteers who make an impact on our community!

Lend a Helping Hand to Hands For Hope!

Every year, El Buen has the privilege of receiving help from so many passionate, caring volunteers  who are essential to the programs and services we offer to over 12,000 people in Central Texas. As a faith-based nonprofit, we seek to provide worthwhile experiences for our volunteers to contribute to a cause that is dear to their hearts.

It is extremely rewarding for us to hear stories about volunteers whose experiences at El Buen change their lives and lead them onto a path to success. Take a moment to hear from Catherine Osborn, a St. Andrew’s Episcopal School alumna who was an ESL volunteer instructor at El Buen some years ago:

Every year, local schools, churches and many members of the Austin community join our efforts to fight hunger through El Buen’s Hands for Hope Thanksgiving event. Now in its 24th year, Hands for Hope has grown to become El Buen’s largest annual community event, gifting turkeys and Thanksgiving trimmings to over 1,000 underserved families to hold their own celebrations at home. This is how you can help:


If you’re looking for a life-changing and fulfilling volunteer experience, we have a very special opportunity coming up, and we want you to be part of it! This year, we’re calling on the community to be even more involved in helping us plan and execute this great event. 

Hands for Hope will be held on Saturday, November 22, 2014. A highly acclaimed annual event, Hands for Hope is a valuable experience for the hundreds of people who get together to make hunger take a holiday. If you’re interested in becoming part of the team who organizes this exciting event, please take a minute to fill out a volunteer form today.

And make sure to attend our Hands for Hope Volunteer Info Session on September 23 to learn more!


Interested in helping raise awareness of hunger through the Turkey Feather Drive? Encourage your friends and family to purchase a feather for $10, pin it on the turkey poster and support our year-round Food Pantry. Request a poster to hang anywhere– church, school, office or business–so that as each feather is purchased the deplumed turkey becomes full of feathers!

Poster distribution will begin on October 1, so make sure to request yours at communications@elbuen.org today to help us make hunger take a holiday this year!

El Buen kicks off summer with healthy meals

Children gather with their meal at our Summer kick-off event with Capital Area Food Bank

Summer should be a fun-filled, carefree time for kids. Yet, many do not have access to high-quality and fun summer learning opportunities. In fact, the National Summer Learning Association attributes more than half of the achievement gap between lower and higher-income youth to unequal summer learning opportunities during the elementary school years.

Additionally, there is a strong correlation between hunger and educational achievement. Children cannot succeed in school if they are hungry. When school is out, children lack access to free or reduced school lunches. In AISD, two in three children receive reduced-price or free lunches. One in four children in Texas are at risk of hunger. Therefore, summer is a critical period in our community.

Every summer, we open our doors to over a hundred children between the ages of five and 12 years to help combat summer learning loss through a STEM curriculum, physical activity, enrichment activities and good nutrition. Through the design of an extensive curriculum to help guide children in a society that is ever-changing through technology, our NatureTech and SmART Camp expose children to themes such as dinosaurs, mammoths, astronomy, theatre and music by incorporating technology such as cameras, iPads and laptops.


We recognize the importance of not only exercise, summer learning and family involvement, which have proven to be key contributors to the success of younger learners, but also the role nutrition plays on a developing mind. Therefore, we have partnered with Capital Area Food Bank to ensure that every child receives a healthy, nutritious lunch 5 times a week prepared by our chef during summer camp. In addition to healthy meals, children are sent home with a backpack with snacks for the weekend.

Our summer program kicked off into full gear on June 17 with our annual kickoff event, featuring a nutritious, chef-prepared meal for over 100 children, stressing the importance of good nutrition in academic achievement.

With a kick-off themed Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, children enjoyed meatballs and rice made by our very own chef, Maria Wright. Summer campers were served lunch by various Austin dignitaries, El Buen and Food Bank staff, while the program was emceed by Univison’s Lesly Montoya. Our Keynote Speaker, Claudia Santamaria, Director of Parent Support Services at AISD, along with El Buen’s Executive Director Illiana Gilman and CAFB’s Executive Director Joanna Linden, spoke on the importance on nutrition and education and the impact it has on the children’s’ future.

Thank you, Capital Area Food Bank, servers and staff, for celebrating our youngest learners and their educational engagement throughout the summer! We look forward in continuing to combat summer learning loss by ensuring our summer campers receive healthy meals in order to reach educational achievement.

cafbsfp-m-062 (1)
cafbsfp-m-090 (1)

© 2012 Tri D Photography

A special thanks to our VIP Servers:

  • Eddie Rodriguez, State Representative
  • Paul Workman, State Representative
  • Carlos Rivera, Director of Health and Human Services, Austin/Travis County
  • Dr. Mark Hernandez, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Community Care Collaborative
  • Oswaldo Perez, “El Conejo”, on-air personality, La Z 107.1 FM
  • Rich Segal, Meteorologist, Time Warner Cable News
  • Paul Strelzick, Executive Vice President, SolarWinds
  • Erica Gustafson, Topfer Family Foundation
  • Michelle Snethkamp & Pam Simpson, BMC Software
  • Bill Blackstone, Director of Austin Site Operations, Rackspace
  • Nick Wright, Commander, Austin Police Department
  • Wendolyne Rivera Morales, Telemundo