by ADRIAN OMAR RAMIREZ
The nonprofit Hays County Food Bank was established in 1984 today helps feed an average of about 18,000 people in Hays County yearly. While many of their services come about because of volunteering and donations, another group helps the food bank: community partners, the small businesses in Hays County which provide for the food bank.
Jane Moore, community relations coordinator for the Hays County Food Bank, said community partners make a major impact on the food bank.
“We’re getting food, we’re getting cash, we’re getting assistance and more awareness about what’s going on because small businesses decided to step up and help us,” Moore said.
A community partner can assist the food bank in a number of areas, from food and monetary donations to events such as food drives. One partner, the Root Cellar in San Marcos, helped the food bank by starting Foodstock, a thrice-yearly festival that benefits the food bank while spreading awareness on hunger in Hays County.
Kyle Mylius, owner of Root Cellar, said he wanted to bring people out to Foodstock to educate attendees about food insecurity in the county.
“That’s as important as raising money, because that’s where it all starts,” Mylius said. “If people realize the need and that 70 percent of students in Hays County are on free or reduced lunch, it’s a staggering statistic.”
In the last year, Root Cellar began giving to the food bank in another way, with Desserts for a Difference. Root Cellar donates $1 for every dessert sold, a concept that Mylius hopes will spread to other Hays County businesses.
Mylius said feeding Hays County is not an impossible feat.
“It’ll take a lot of hard work and a lot of people,” Mylius said. “We can have a day in Hays County when everybody who needs a meal is eating.”
The Leaning Pear in Wimberley started a relationship with the food bank in November 2007, shortly after the restaurant opened. The restaurant became a sponsor in Turkeys Tackling Hunger, the food bank’s yearly Thanksgiving food drive.
“From the day we opened our doors, our intention was to be a restaurant and also have the opportunity to contribute to other causes,” said Rachel Buchanan, co-owner and general manager. “Since we opened, we’ve been involved with the food bank and other organizations we’re happy to contribute to.”
It wasn’t long before the Leaning Pear began another donation program, First Wednesdays. On the first Wednesday of every month, ten percent of the restaurant’s proceeds go to the food bank.
For Buchanan, donating helps the Leaning Pear as the business continues to get its name out.
“I would rather advertise through providing donations than taking an ad out,” Buchanan said. “That’s the best advertising you can put out there, because it’s going to help someone at the same time.”
ADRIAN OMAR RAMIREZ reports for the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Hays Free Press and the San Marcos Mercury.