Mega Food Distribution

The San Antonio Food Bank brought more than 150,000 pounds of food to distribute to area residents on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at the Seguin Events Complex.

The New Braunfels Food Bank and a local manufacturing company are partnering together to provide the community with food in a big way.

Caterpillar is joining with the area food pantry with the hopes of feeding about 1,000 families from around the area with a food distribution event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, May 21, at Caterpillar, 1720 W. Kingsbury.

Dozens of volunteers are slated to disperse about a hundred pounds of food to each family, New Braunfels Food Bank Programs Manager Junarin Abueg said.

“We try to average over 100 pounds since our goal for this mega distribution is to [give] a family food for at least two weeks,” Abueg said. “An average family of four can consume [that amount] over two weeks.”

Of those volunteers, about 30 are Caterpillar employees, Industrial Power Systems Division Large Engines General Manager Mark Stratton said.

“We’re just one part of the whole that comes together for an event like this,” Stratton said. “This is an unprecedented time around the world. We are happy to help the New Braunfels Food Bank make a difference in people’s lives when they need it most. We’re impressed by the work of the New Braunfels Food Bank, and we are pleased to join with them in their mission to bring food relief, especially during this pandemic.”

The distributed meals will touch on each branch of the food pyramid to provide attendees with a well-balanced diet, Abueg said.

“Each of the food groups will be represented,” he said. “You will have your protein, we’ll have refrigerated stuff like eggs, and then we’ll have our non-perishables as well and produce. It depends on what the San Antonio Food Bank has available that week. So, for instance, if they have enough navy beans that can serve 1,000 people, then we’ll probably order that as well.”

Stratton said the possibility of hosting more than 1,000 people at Caterpillar’s facility is exciting.

“There are so many people in need right now — many of whom have not had to receive food in this way before,” he said. “In hosting this event, we’re thrilled to be one of the many contributing factors that helps an event like this be successful.”

The event follows a similar distribution held last month resulting from a partnership between the city of Seguin, the Guadalupe Regional Medical Center and the New Braunfels Food Bank wherein 150,000 pounds of food were given to more than 800 area residents.

The food bank’s goal during that event was also to reach about 1,000 people. However, misinformation, and technical difficulties stunted the bank from reaching its mark, Abueg said

“[We] have the same goal that we had the last time,” Abueg said. “It turns out that there were a lot of people that registered online but didn’t really show up. We also had a lot of people that didn’t know they had to register that showed up. So 850 is our margin, but we’ll have to make sure that we’ll have enough for 1,000 just because we can’t control those people that show up on the day of the distribution.”

Those looking to attend the distribution at Caterpillar must fill out a pre-registration form online before 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 20, or call the New Braunfels Food Bank, Abueg said.

Attendees registering online must follow the webpage’s instructions carefully to ensure their slot is not mistakenly passed by, Abueg said.

“Make sure toward the end [of the registration form] to click on the final arrow just to make sure that you’re fully registered,” he said. “When we had our distribution in Seguin, I think a lot of people didn’t understand that there’s a final step to click in order for your resignation to go through.”

Caterpillar’s staff is earnestly awaiting to lend a hand and help out, Stratton said

“We’re proud to be a part of the Seguin Community, and it’s important for us as a company and for our employees to contribute to the communities where we live and work,” he said. “We’ve always been impressed by the way our employees — before and during this pandemic — are eager to find ways to give back in our community,”

To register for the distribution, visit nbfoodbank.org/cvresponse/getfood/ or call 830-327-6000.

To volunteer visit, nbfoodbank.org/volunteer.

Joe Martin is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. He can be reached at joe.martin@seguingazette.com

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