November 7, 2013

Bastrop's Food Pantry Rolls Out the Red Carpet to Combat Hunger

by Angela Castillo

If you drive past 806 Fayette Street on any given weekday morning, you might see the line. At least 50 people strung down the street, many of them clutching reusable bags or laundry baskets. Many mothers with sleepy children snuggled in their arms, elderly people leaning on walkers and fathers with worried eyes. These people are not waiting in line for the newest installment of "The Hobbit." They are waiting for food. 

When asked how many people the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry impacts a month, Tresha Silva, the pantry's Executive Director, says, "Anywhere from 900-1200 clients come through the door during the month."
A sobering number when you consider the city of Bastrop's population is 7,394 people according to the 2012 United States Census.

Bottom right- Tresha Silva, Executive Director of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry
Silva went on to say, "Even with government programs in place, sometimes there's not enough. Especially with the cuts coming to the food stamp program in November. Sometimes not enough food can be as bad as none at all, especially for children."
The pantry offers many services, including referral services. "If we don't have funding we help (people) locate it. We help people fill out forms for government and other assistance. We provide fresh produce and recipe ideas. We don't want to just be a Band-Aid. We help people leave with not just food, but with a sense of security."

Silva is hopeful about the upcoming Sounds of Sharing community concert coming to the Bastrop Jerry Fay Wilhelm Performing Arts Center. "The center has 1800 seats. We hope to pack it out."

The concert will be a family event held on Tuesday, November 19th. American Idol stars Ruben Studdard, Tamyra Gray, Paris Bennett, and Pia Toscano will share the stage with local artists including the Peterson Brothers Band, classical guitarist Mark Cruz, vocalist Jordan Underwood, Ed Sanders, Ascension Choir, Jubilate Choir, Huston-Tillotson University Gospel Choir, the Bastrop Community Choir, and Cedar Creek Burning Hearts Praise Band.

Paris Bennett, Tamyra Gray, Pia Toscano, Ruben Studdard
Paris Bennett, Tamyra Gray, Pia Toscano, and Ruben Studdard

The show is being produced by former American Idol Producer, Ron DeShay. "Mr. DeShay has worked really hard to lend all his time and talent to make this happen. And the local groups have really stepped up to say 'Sure, we'll be there,'" said Silva.
Photo by Terry Hagerty, Bastrop Advertiser/Austin American-Statesman
Food Pantry Board Member Tonda Owens, Ron DeShay, Food Pantry E.D. Tresha Silva

The performers, as well as all of the behind-the-scenes volunteers who have worked countless hours organizing the event, are proud to take a stand against hunger. It's going to be a spectacular show, but even better than that, it's going to help feed people in Bastrop County.

The tickets are $20 each and can be purchased here. The red carpet begins at 5:30pm, and the show starts at 7:00pm. For more info on the Sounds of Sharing concert, click here.

How can people help besides coming to the concert? "Online donations are accepted any time. Mr. DeShay has plans to record the concert, so it will hopefully be available for purchase. Host a food drive. Volunteer at the center," said Silva.
Simple ways to bring hope. Simple steps to change our community for the better.

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