AUSTIN, Texas - Four members of the Austin City Council are calling on the Austin City Manager to deploy a citywide food distribution operation similar to that happening currently for water.
Natasha Harper-Madison, District 1 and Mayor Pro Tem; Vanessa Fuentes, District 2; Sabino "Pio" Renteria, District 3; and Greg Casar, District 4 co-signed a letter Sunday, Feb. 21 to City Manager Spencer Cronk asking his office to coordinate with "all relevant agencies...to provide significant quantities of food to our communities right now."
"Food insecurity was a serious issue before this disaster due to the pandemic, and is now far worse because of the crisis," reads the letter. "Many have been without power for several days and have had their food spoil, while also losing a week's worth of wages with rent due in seven days."
The letter says that the councilmembers have not received confirmation from Cronk's office in response to calls and emails the councilmembers say they sent on Friday, Feb 19 and Saturday, Feb. 20 that there will be a food distribution operation "at the scale that is necessary."
"Our constituents are asking us when and where food will be made available for them," the letter reads. "At the food pick-up sites that have been provided so far, demand has far exceeded supply. Cars have had to be turned away due to insufficient supply."
The letter also acknowledges private efforts from Austinites to help their neighbors, as well as nonprofits and City-supported efforts, but says that the councilmembers do not believe that current operations will be enough in size or scale to address the increased demand because of the recent winter storm.
READ THE FULL LETTER BELOW: