Safe Table Initative: Supporting Austin Seniors

An AFWA & GWA collaboration

Many seniors in our community are facing challenges accessing emergency food resources. For some Seniors, it is even more difficult to get help from a place or an organization that is respectful, safe and understanding. Despite this being a time when we should all be coming together to support our friends, family and neighbors in need, many seniors face additional and unjust institutional or systemic barriers to accessing emergency food resources. 

The Safe Table program will provide meals prepared by local independent restaurants, using food purchased from local farms, through trusted community food pantry partners serving Seniors who unjustly face additional challenges just to receive help.

The meals are intended for Seniors who face institutional or systemic barriers to accessing food resources, including but not limited to the following reasons:- undocumented- recent immigrants- seasonal migrants- refugees or asylum seekers- people who have previously been incarcerated- people who do not speak English- people with physical or mental disabilities preventing equitable access to food resources- people who are LGBTQAI+- people who are neurodiverse- people who lack mobility- people who lack online or digital access

Safe Table Goals:
- Provide prepared meals for seniors who are food insecure, impacted by the pandemic and face barriers to equitable access to available food resources.

-Meals will be prepared by local independent restaurants using local ingredients, with fresh healthy ingredients.

-Provide critically needed work and income for food service professionals, with a focus on partnering with restaurants who are owned and operated

- Keep program dollars in the local economy as much as possible.

Partner Organizations provide trust to vulnerable Seniors:
The difficulties in accessing emergency food resources in safe and welcoming spaces that these seniors face was brought to our attention by local food pantries, who in turn are primary partners for the program.

Our main distribution partners Serafina Pantry and El Buen Samaritano have both served people and seniors who face these barriers since long before the pandemic, and the need has only grown. Through them we have been able to distribute 700 meals per weeks to Austin Seniors in need. 

Additionally, the Austin Asian Community Health Initiative  partnered with us for the month of October and allowed for us to reach seniors in their community who face barriers to service. 

By partnering with organizations like these, we ensure that the ultimate beneficiaries, the seniors who need safe, nutritious and nourishing food, will receive meals not from strangers, but from the people and organizations that they already know and trust, addressing a key hurdle in serving people who face these systemic and institutional hurdles.

Local Economic empowerment:
This program is led by local nonprofits Austin Food and Wine Alliance, Good Work Austin and Little Herds. Good Work Austin member restaurants will be preparing and delivering the meals to our Partner Organizations to further distribute.

Good Work Austin member restaurants who produce the meals for Emergency Food Access programs like the “Safe Table” pilot also provide numerous benefits for their employees, the community and the local economy. GWA member restaurants participating in these programs sign the One Fair Wage pledge, paying employees a minimum hourly wage of $15.00. They pledge to source 50% of their ingredients from local farms and businesses. In addition, these member restaurants sign on to a safe-reopening pledge, going above and beyond the safety requirements and recommendations from the
State and City.

Budgeting  & A Big 
Thank you to all our Supporters! 

Special Thank you to World Central Kitchen's Support of BWA Food Access programs, we are able to extend the "Safe Table" 
Program costs are currently around $5,500.00 per week, initial funding covered the four week pilot from October 5 through October 30, after our first month of success we secured funding through November and now we are excited to announce we will because to continue this program through the end of the year. This will allow for us to support Austin Seniors through the Holiday season. 

Budget covers all costs, including food ingredients procurement, including
locally sourced ingredients, food preparation facilities and labor, compostable packaging, delivery to our partner nonprofit organizations and administrative and programs management costs. The funds for labor go to local workers and pay a minimum of $15/hr, above Austin’s living wage.Pilot funding was secured through the second round of the All Together ATX Fund and the generous donations of private community individuals.

We are seeking additional strategic funding partners, corporate sponsors and individual donors to expand and extend the program to allow us to serve more seniors in need through additional partner organizations. If you would like to support this initiative, please donate here or contact RNA (Robert Nathan Allen) through GivePulse for interest in corporate sponsorship or strategic grant making.

Additional data on Senior food security needs:
In 2016, nearly 8.6 million older Americans faced the threat of hunger, representing 13.6% of adults aged 60+ in the U.S.

Seniors are more likely to be food insecure if they:
* Live in a southern state: 9 of the 10 states with the highest rates of senior food insecurity are in the south (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia).
* Have a disability: Almost one-third of food insecure seniors are disabled.* Are younger: Nearly 65% of food insecure seniors are younger than age 69.
* Live with a grandchild: Nearly one in every five seniors living with grandchildren is food insecure.
* Are African American or Hispanic: 17% of African American seniors and 18% of Hispanic seniors are food insecure, compared to 7% of Caucasian seniors.In 2017, Texas ranked #6 state in the US for highest Senior Food Insecurity rates.

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