By Julie Weeks

Covenant members put their faith into action in partnership with Austin Voices for Education and Youth and the Central Texas Food Bank

Covenant has partnered with Allen and Julie Weeks and Austin Voices for Education and Youth (AVEY) to bless and serve kids and families in the St. John community and at Webb Middle School for more than a decade. Through the school-based Family Resource Centers, families are screened for social service needs including basic needs, employment, health, housing and financial needs including utility assistance. They are also enrolled in adult education and parenting classes by AVEY staff.

With rising housing costs in Austin, many AISD families struggle to put food on their tables. In response to this food insecurity in our community, AVEY opened four food pantries in Family Resource Centers at Webb, Burnet and Dobie Middle Schools, and now Lanier High School. AVEY supports the St. John Mobile Food Pantry in partnership with the Central Texas Food Bank (CTFB.

Through these strategies, AVEY aims to stabilize families, reduce student mobility, increase student attendance and ultimately improve student academic performance.

Covenant volunteers are key to the success of these food pantries. Last year, AVEY distributed more than 102,000 pounds (46.3 tons) of food to 1,100 families in over 2,500 visits, including fresh produce, bread, eggs and milk.

AVEY is grateful for the hard work of volunteers like Rick Gerber, who picks up 2,000 pounds of food twice a month at the Central Texas Food Bank and delivers it to the Webb and Burnet food pantries using his truck and the Covenant trailer. 

AVEY is also grateful to a team of Covenant volunteers, including Stephanie Kurio, Kathy Willis, Patrick Schmidt, Rick Gerber, Robbie Albracht, Pansy Flick, Julia Alejandre and others who volunteer once a month to serve the 200-250 families who come to get fresh food at the St. John CTFB Mobile pantry. Their compassionate service is a true blessing to families in their time of need.

If you are interested in volunteering at one of the AVEY food pantries, in the Webb Family Resource Center with office work and data entry, and at events at Webb Middle School or in the St. John community, please contact Lynn Bell. Lynn serves as the liaison between Covenant and AVEY.

We are grateful to the amazing work of the Central Texas Food Bank and its long-term partnerships with organizations like Austin Voices.