How to safely support those experiencing homelessness this holiday season

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According to data from Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO), there are roughly 2,506 people in Austin who are currently battling homelessness. While we are entering the holiday season, more and more people are looking for places where they can get meals for the holidays. While COVID-19 restrictions have forced many soup kitchens to close their dining rooms, there are still many locations that are doing what they can to assist people experiencing homelessness. Here are some organizations in Austin that are helping deliver meals to people in need amid COVID-19.

There are many locations in Austin where you can pick up groceries from the Central Texas Food Bank. As always, this holiday season, they have their mobile food pantry available on specific days and locations. To find more information on where to get groceries and different resources the food bank offers, visit their website.

Though the Austin Baptist Chapel has closed their kitchen due to COVID-19 restrictions, they are still passing out sack breakfasts from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and sack lunches from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The only days they will be closed are Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. 

Caritas of Austin will serve sack lunches Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The community still has access to the food pantry and the lobby area is still open to the public Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. They are currently only allowing one person at a time to access bathrooms, phones and water.

This food pantry is open Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. They are serving food on a first-come, first-serve basis and are operating through a drive-thru drop off only. They have also announced that they are partnering with the Austin Humane Society and Austin Animal Center to help provide food for cats and dogs too.

For more information on where to find ready-to-eat foods during the holiday season, check out the City of Austin’s website.