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Group aims at local food options

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Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 3:30 pm

A new movement aims to help more members of the community secure the food they need to survive.

Bastrop County Cares, a local non-profit organization, has begun the process of possibly implementing a food nutrition program in the county. The group is currently gathering information before coming up with a plan of action to address the needs identified.

Started by the organization’s board president, Debbie Bresette, Bastrop County Cares’ mission is to develop initiatives after identifying community priorities and help come up with a solution.

“The charge of the organization is looking at large issues that impact the whole county since there’s not really any one organization that tackles those programs on their own,” said Dan Kleiner, resource and development coordinator with BCC.

The food and nutrition program is BCC’s latest endeavor, which started last summer. Right now, the organization is the needs assessment stage. Information is being gathered by talking with community leaders, local pantries and other entities to see what’s lacking and what issues are present in food shortages. The first precinct BCC is looking at includes Elgin.

“Our goal is basically to find out as much information as we can through those individual interviews,” Kleiner said, “and then talk about what we feel like we heard or saw and then work together for a solution.” 

BCC doesn’t aim to necessarily be the tools for the solution. However, they have received some assistance to aid in the labor.

The St. David’s Foundation awarded $30,000 to BCC for its food program. Portions of the funds are earmarked for some specific purposes, such as replenishing food pantries depleted of supplies after Hurricane Harvey. A third of the funds can be used to supply infant and toddler foods, formula and other supplements.

In terms of nutrition, BCC hopes to expand the meaning to personal hygiene and help people with that need. The food and nutrition program is also looking at transportation needs to reach food sources and working with Texas AgriLife to see if classes might be of assistance.

“It’s one thing to be able to get some food in the hands of people that really need it, but it’s another thing to teach them things about cooking, things about nutrition,” Kleiner said. 

“While we do have several specific focus areas right now, we’re open to becoming a lot of different things if there is a need there and there is a need that we can service.”

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