Austin Reggae Festival raises funds for Central Texas Food Bank

The Austin Reggae Festival has become an Austin tradition, a tradition to help keep food on the tables of thousands of Texans across Central Texas.

Full-time student Esmi Torres has had her struggles with affording food.

"Going to college I had problems getting food paying all the bills its hard. I think's it's a great cause,” Torres said. “I had to live off just rice and whatever I could get. It really takes a toll on you."

She along with thousands of people rely on the Central Texas Food Bank for balanced meals and for decades the food bank has been serving the community. 

Officials introduced the Reggae Festival 26 years ago and the event has quickly become the food bank's largest fundraiser. 

This year, hundreds of visitors emptied their pockets for the cause, including Kristopher Maxwill.    

"Helping the homeless and helping the average American eat is a great thing,” Maxwill said.

Last year's event raised more than 600,000 meals for central Texans facing hunger.

Maxwill says being hungry is something no one should face. 

"Honestly any meal for anyone is a blessing I mean it’s for a really good cause to help anyone get food in their belly,” he said.

With ticket sales and donations from the community, the food bank is able to feed more people, ensuring that no one goes hungry. 

Over the last five years, the festival has provided more than 2 million meals and festival organizers say food insecurity can affect anyone at any time, at any age.

"I don't think food insecurity really has a stereotype i think it can affect anyone,” attendee Arly Adrianzen said.

Organizers say that this time of year is when kids and people in the community visit the food bank the most and that this event helps keep shelves full. 

"It helps us stock our shelves right before the critical summer months when kids normally get lunch from school, they lose access to that,” Mark Jackson with the Central Texas Food Bank said. “So we see the line for our services grow."

Portions of ticket sales go directly to the Central Texas Food Bank. 

Sunday is the last day for the festival and tickets are available onsite or online.