Popovich Teams With Food Bank To Fight Childhood Hunger
By: Lorne Chan Spurs.com
There is no offseason for the San Antonio Food Bank, which serves an area where nearly 200,000 children face food insecurity.
There is no statistic that aggravates Spurs coach Gregg Popovich more than the fact that one in four children faces food insecurity, where they don’t know when their next meal will be served.
“It’s embarrassing,” Popovich said. “If you’ve got a child, and you think about them without food, it kills you. You don’t want that for your child, so transplant that feeling into some other person who doesn’t have the advantages that you have.”
Popovich joined with San Antonio Food Bank President and CEO Eric Cooper on Wednesday to raise awareness for childhood hunger in San Antonio.
The need is even greater with school out for summer. The Food Bank served 15,000 meals to kids in the first week of summer in 2016. This year, the Food Bank served 30,000 meals in a week.
Children receive a free or reduced-price meal at school during the school year, but they’re at risk in the summer when they aren’t in class. Families also face higher utility bills and childcare expenses in summer, adding to the strain.
“Summer time exacerbates the problem,” Cooper said.
Popovich spoke on Wednesday to encourage San Antonians to join the fight against hunger. To meet the need of feeding San Antonio, the Food Bank has a goal of providing 9 million summer meals.
At every H-E-B cash register, shoppers can donate $1, $3, or $5 to the San Antonio Food Bank. Visit SAFoodBank.org for more on how to donate or volunteer as well.
“The more we get the word out, the better. You can donate money, your time, or you can donate goods. You can tell everybody, even tell people you don’t like. Tell them to give their food and money and walk away from them and leave them alone. It doesn’t matter. We want to get this done for the kids.”
Popovich has had a long relationship with the San Antonio Food Bank. The annual Champions Against Hunger dinner, where Popovich and Spurs players are waiters for a night, has raised more than $1 million for the Food Bank and is its top fundraising event every year.
Last October, eight Spurs players made the trip to the Food Bank to volunteer during training camp.
The San Antonio Food Bank serves more than 58,000 people every week, with 74 million meals distributed last year.
“Because the need is so great, we’re very fortunate to have a leader like Eric Cooper who tries to keep up with the demand as much as possible,” Popovich said. “It’s not just obtaining the food, but logistically, getting it packed, stored and delivered, it’s a huge operation. We can never think that hunger is about to be cured. We have to keep working.”