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Become a Partner Agency
The Capital Area Food Bank partners with more than 300 human and social service nonprofits who are on the front lines of hunger, distributing food and grocery products to clients in 21 Central Texas counties. Partner Agencies stock their shelves with food ordered from the Food Bank and then provide it directly to individuals and families, either in the form of bags of groceries or prepared meals served on site.
Step 1: attend mandatory orientation training. Free orientation classes are held on the 4th Monday of the month from 1:00 - 3:00 P.M. at the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas 8201 S. Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78745. If you would like a tour after orientation please dress appropriately with closed-toed shoes. To register for a class, contact the Agency Relations Department at 512-282-2111 or email email@example.com.
Step 2: complete application and required forms. Submit only fully completed applications to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax ATTN: Agency Relations to 512-282-6606. Once your application is approved by the Agency Relations department, your agency will be contacted for a site visit. Download the application and required forms. (PDF)
Step 3: site visit. The facility in which you plan to operate your pantry or meal program must be inspection-ready. This means the storage area for food and/or food preparation must meet the minimum standards as described at CAFB Orientation. After your site visit, you will be notified in writing of your approval status.
Benefits of the Food Bank Partner Agency Membership
As a Partner Agency, your organization can instantly order products through an online ordering system and pick them up at the Food Bank Distribution Center or at a Regional Food Delivery location. Benefits include:
- purchasing items below retail price so your agency can provide more food for less cost
- ZERO COST on select items
- access to millions of pounds of food and non-food items
- training classes on a variety of subjects to improve your agency's capacity to serve clients
- support from Food Bank social services outreach staff to help your clients access long-term solutions to hunger
- free annual Agency Relations Conference
- credibility in the community
- networking with Food Bank Partner Agencies for capacity building
- Proof of 501(c)3 agency status or non-denomination church
- Located in high areas of need within the 21-county service area
- Provide documentation of 3 months of service to a minimum of 25 families prior to the Food Bank partnership.
- Pass on-site inspection, attend trainings and meet the operation requirements
- Meet ongoing requirements
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the member fees?
A: Partner Agencies do not pay for food. However, agencies pay a handling fee of no more than 13 cents per pound for non-perishable food, 3 cents per pound on produce and 19 cents per pound on non-food items. All other products have no handling fee.
Handling fees cover 24 percent of the Food Bank's budget and help defray the costs of transporting food and running freezers and coolers. All other services (training, delivery, nutrition information) are at no additional cost to Partner Agencies.
Q: Our agency is not close to Austin. Do you deliver?
A: The Capital Area Food Bank Regional Food Delivery (RFD) program delivers fresh and packaged foods to centrally located drop sites in outlying areas that are easily accessible for more remote Partner Agencies serving rural populations. RFD operates five days a week, delivering items to 121 Food Bank Partner Agencies in 21 counties.
Every week, these agencies place orders with the Food Bank that include a wide variety of packaged and frozen goods. the Food Bank staff members load the orders into a 48- or 30-foot refrigerated tractor-trailer and deliver them to a previously identified loading dock or parking lot in the agencies’ towns. Fresh produce, dairy goods and other perishable items are also included.
Regional Partner Agencies meet the the Food Bank driver at the designated site, load their vehicles with their orders and distribute the food within their communities.
Before RFD began in 1993, all the Food Bank Partner Agencies in outlying counties had to make weekly trips to Austin for their orders. The journey to Austin meant transportation expenses that otherwise could have been used for agency programs and services. In addition, because the Food Bank was so far from so many Partner Agencies, they were significantly limited as to what frozen and refrigerated items they could safely transport back to their agencies. It was difficult for them to find the space and the proper refrigeration to take meat, produce and dairy products.
Now, RFD allows Partner Agencies to focus more of their time and resources on the populations they serve, allowing them to provide a larger variety of nutritious food.
Q: What are the operational requirements to pass inspection?
A: The Food Bank Partner Agencies are required to meet the following criteria:
- The Emergency Food Pantry cannot be located in a private residence.
- Store food in a secure room, preventing the entry of bugs and rodents. Check the walls, ceiling, shelf connections, and around windows and doors. Seal all gaps, holes, and cracks install a strip on the bottom of the pantry door to seal out bugs and rodents.
- Store all food on non-porous, easily sanitized surfaces. Food may not be stored on bare wood, rusty metal, or shelf liner. Paint shelves with light colored, oil-based enamel paint. Re-painting may be needed once a year, depending on how much your pantry is used. The paint seals the wood or metal, and makes it easier to wash off during weekly cleaning.
- Store food properly. Do not re-package any products except for rice and beans. Only use plastic zipper bags, not paper bags. The use of pallets for food storage is not recommended; consider building a platform instead. Rice and beans may be kept in a tightly lidded bin on the platform. The bottom shelf or platform should be 6 inches off the floor, and food product may not be stored closer than 4 inches to the wall or 2 feet from the ceiling.
- Check incoming food to see that it is in good condition. Discard bloated, dented or rusty cans. Also discard containers that leak or do not have labels. Expired or out-of–date baby food and formula must be discarded immediately. Leave enough room on the shelves so that you can move product around for cleaning purposes. Use oldest product first.
- Store non-food items separately from food. Never store non-food items above or mingled with food products. Some common non-food items are hazardous.
- Keep pantry clean. All food storage areas should be checked and cleaned every time the pantry is used. Post specific cleaning tasks that are to be completed at the end of every shift. Floors and shelving can be sanitized with a solution of one teaspoon of bleach combined with a quart of water. Wipe out refrigerators/freezers as soon as spills occur. Use pest control materials that are safe to use around food.
- Store non-perishables at safe temperatures. Food should be protected from extreme heat and humidity. Proper ventilation is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the ideal range for non-perishable products.
- Store perishables at safe temperatures. Keep temperature gauges in all refrigeration equipment. Using TDHS temperature chart, record the date and temperature of each unit once every other day, late Friday and early Monday, if there are no operations on the weekend. Safe temperatures in a refrigerator range from 34 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, in a freezer 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
- All USDA grain products must be refrigerated from May through September to deter contamination by pest invasion. Grain products such as flour or corn meal should be kept refrigerated during warmer months to deter the invasion of pests.
- Food and other products from the Food Bank are for the clients of the approved program only. The pantry, food storage area, refrigerators and freezers containing product from the Food Bank are to be kept locked and separated from all other agencies and programs.
Q: What ongoing requirements are expected for my agency?
A: To maintain Partner Agency status, agencies are expected to:
- Submit monthly reports on operations
- Remain open for two hours, two times each month
- Provide pest control every three months
- Attend yearly training
- Provide up-to-date health permits if the agency offers meal service
Heath Ribordy, Agency Relations Manager
Karsten Darden, Agency Relations Representative
Delta Garcia, Agency Relations Representative
Kara Prior, Agency Relations Representative