GraceWorks hit a remarkable milestone by rolling out their 10,000th shopping cart of food this fiscal year, marking a 15% increase compared to the previous year
Maria Lorraine Quinones (holding flowers) recently received GraceWorks’ 10,000th food cart. With her are, from left, GraceWorks volunteer Lainie Anderson, food distribution manager Mark Short and Nina Reyes, food distribution assistant manager.
GraceWorks rolled out its 10,000th shopping cart full of food this fiscal year in the last week of the organization’s fiscal year, making a 15% increase in carts of food over last fiscal year.
The unprecedented number in GraceWorks’ 28-year history is the peak so far in an era of exploding requests for food. Just last year, GraceWorks provided 8,688 carts of food to local Neighbors.
Each cart is full of groceries – fresh produce, milk, butter, eggs, canned goods, bread and more. Each has a retail value of $355 on average, which has a significant impact on household finances. Food distribution allows struggling families to spend their resources on other expenses.
The cost to GraceWorks per cart of food increased from $16 last year to $42 this year, making this increase very difficult to sustain.
GraceWorks’ Food Program is the most requested service of its core programs of Food, Shelter and Support. Last year the organization provided food to 11,603 unduplicated people through food carts, mobile food pantries to under-served areas, holiday meal boxes and Fuel Bags of weekend nutrition to economically disadvantaged students in Williamson County’s two school districts.
Anyone is eligible to receive food carts, regardless of residence, from GraceWorks’ main pantry and mobile pantries. Other services are restricted to Williamson County residents only. Families can receive food carts each month. They can choose between self-selecting items themselves or picking up preassembled carts curbside.
GraceWorks is exploring an expansion of its food pantry to meet the increased demand. Wait times range from 20 days for self-select, the most popular request, to 2 days for curbside service. GraceWorks is grateful to generous community of donors, local grocers, partnering organizations and volunteers who made this level of service possible.