Throughout the year, seasonal needs drive different types of calls to our Navigation Center, but summer is an especially difficult time for Austin residents. As utility bills increase and children are home for the summer, without the school-provided free or reduced lunch option, we see food needs rise –
Food need calls by month in 2013:
*SNAP calls not included in this chart to make it easier to see trends.
Last year, 63 percent of calls for summer food programs were in June, creating the spike above. These programs provide free meals to children during the summer. Most of the needs for food year-round are related to SNAP/food stamp assistance followed by food pantries, and we see an increase for food pantry needs over the summer as well.
The need for summer food programs is unusual in that it’s more spread out than others. Two of our top zip codes for summer food program needs last year were 78664 (Round Rock) and 78660 (Pflugerville), breaking the trend of need in general.
Concentration of calls in Central Texas:
Concentration of overall food needs in Central Texas:
As food continues to dominate our top needs overall and food pantries make our list of unmet needs most months, summer is a critical period where many of our friends and neighbors struggle even more.