San Antonio Food Bank can now serve 50,000 meals a day

Eric Cooper, president and CEO of the food bank, said the $ 19 million center would help prevent a child or family from starving in San Antonio. He said the kitchen would enable the facility and its partners not only to intervene in the “poverty disaster,” but also to help those affected by natural disasters.

Cooper said the nonprofit had outgrown its own kitchen, which produced 10,000 meals a day.

“We need to be able to have an asset that is able to respond to any need,” said Cooper. “The Mays Culinary Center is just one of the assets ready to respond to any crisis that comes while facing the daily crisis that the Food Bank’s mission is focused on.”

Staff on Tuesday led guests through the 60,000-square-foot, two-story center, which was designed to produce more than 50,000 meals for children in after-school programs, on vacation and summer vacations, and on weekends, and to aid in emergencies and disasters.

As the guests started the tour, they passed a quote from Harvey E. Najim engraved on a glass panel in the kitchen: “No child should ever go to bed hungry.” On the first floor is the 25,000 square meter Najim Children’s Kitchen that will prepare meals for children and assist displaced people in emergencies and natural disasters.

The center is also home to Casa Venado, an in-house game meat processing facility that was a gift from the Dobson family. Individual hunters and / or ranch owners who exterminate their herd donate game that is processed at the facility. The facility is part of the food bank’s Hunters for the Hungry program and is expected to process more than 100,000 pounds of venison each year.

The center is located behind the Najim Children’s Pavilion and includes two classrooms for hands-on training. The culinary education programs provide the skills and certifications required to get started as a chef. The training to become a butcher is the focus of the other course.

Erika Borrego, Chief Operating Officer of the food bank, showed guests five meeting rooms on the second floor that are open to the public. She also showed them the center’s gym, which was stocked with exercise equipment available to team members.

In the hallway, Darron Gaus, farm manager, showed the group the non-profit organization’s municipal farm, one of three agricultural departments, through a wide cornered glass window. He said a larger area will be supplying butternut squash and standard kale this fall.

“These are easier plants to grow,” he said. “They produce a lot of weight so we can feed more hungry people.”

Borrego said Gaus and his team are working with their nutrition bureau to offer advice to residents and schools on growing gardens in the community.

Shelly Flume, an attorney with the Flume law firm, said she was impressed with the care with which the new center was designed.

“It’s amazing that it can serve so many more people,” said Flume. “You can tell that through their experiences they have learned to manage to satisfy so many more people and all the needs that are out there.”

vtdavis@express-news.net

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