Austin Regional Office

About the Austin Office
The Texas Hunger Initiative's Austin Regional Office exists to empower Austin area residents to gain equal access to healthy food.

Check out our Facebook Page!

Contact Our Staff

Katie Hardgrove

Regional Director, Child Hunger Outreach Specialist

Addie Woods

CPRI Specialist

Trip Butler

Community Partner Recruitment Coordinator
Texas Impact AmeriCorps *VISTA

Lauren Tarin

Community Partner Recruitment Coordinator
Texas Impact AmeriCorps *VISTA

Andrew Brasher

Outreach Coordinator
Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps

Table of Contents

1 ...........................................
Join Our Team for the Summer!
2 ...........................................
Community Partner Recruitment Initiative
3 ...........................................
Child Hunger Outreach | No Kid Hungry Campaign
4 ...........................................
Community Health Assesment/Community Health Improvement Plan (CHA/CHIP)

Join Our Team for the Summer!

Summer VISTA_Austin


What is the Summer Food Service Program?

During the school year there are 2.8 million Texas students on the free or reduced lunch program, which provides breakfast and lunch five days a week. These students often go without consistent meals on the weekends and holidays. The summer break is a particularly difficult time for such students when those meals are no longer provided. This lack of access to adequate nutrition has been linked to poorer academic performance, which can easily perpetuate the vicious cycle of poverty. Fortunately, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) enables organizations active in low-income communities to offer free meals to children who might otherwise go hungry during the summer break.

What are Summer Associates?

Summer Associates are AmeriCorps VISTA members working with he Texas Hunger Initiative regional staff (THI) to increase participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) across the state. They work on a variety of tasks that can include, but aren't limited to, creating strategic plans, designing outreach materials, developing nutrition education materials, and implementing creative activities for children at Summer Meal sites.

What are the dates for the program?

There are two options for service:

How do I apply?

You can complete an application here. For more information, contact

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Community Partner Recruitment Initiative (CPRI)

The Community Partner Recruitment Initiative (CPRI) is an initiative of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) that assists community-based organizations in helping people apply for and manage their public benefits online via the HHSC web portal:

Hundreds of thousands of people across Texas are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other public benefits, but are not receiving them. Billions of dollars in available resources go unused.

In the Austin Region alone, millions of dollars in available resources to combat hunger and poverty are squandered because many families are not accessing these benefit programs.

Contact one of Texas Hunger Initiative’s Austin-area CPRI Coordinators to learn how your organization can become a Community Partner to ensure that your clients or congregation members get signed up for all the benefit programs they are eligible for:

Your Austin Regional Community Partner Team:

Addie Woods, CPRI Specialist
Lauren Tarin, Outreach Coordinator
Trip Butler, Outreach Coordinator

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Child Hunger Outreach/No Kid Hungry Campaign

No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in five children struggles with hunger. We’re working to end childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. And we need your help to accomplish this in the Austin area!

Here’s how we do it:

School Breakfast

Research demonstrates the importance of providing breakfast to children and youth. Children who eat a good breakfast tend to:

  • perform better in school;
  • have a better attendance record;
  • exhibit fewer behavioral problems;
  • develop healthy eating habits;
  • visit the school nurse less frequently; and
  • are less likely to be obese.

  • Despite the benefits of breakfast, for a variety of reasons, many families can't provide for their kids a healthy breakfast every morning. The Texas Hunger Initiative (THI), Share Our Strength’s lead partner for the Texas No Kid Hungry campaign, works to help schools and school districts implement universal alternative breakfast programs. THI works in partnership with the USDA and Dairy MAX to reach out to superintendents and school nutrition directors in large school districts across the state and discuss the importance of the federal School Breakfast Program and innovative delivery models, such as Breakfast in the Classroom.

    Summer Meals

    For families who count on school breakfast and lunch, the summer months can be stressful and family food budgets have to be stretched even further.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers free Summer Meals to kids across the Austin Region similar to School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, except meals are free to all kids that come to a registered Summer Meals site.

    These Summer Meals Programs can help families save money and stretch their already tight summer food budgets. Many Summer Meals sites, which are registered with the USDA, offer fun learning and recreational activities so kids and teens can eat a healthy meal while staying active and hanging out with friends.

    Families in all of Travis County can find free Summer Meals sites during the summer time by going to, calling 211, or texting FOODTX to 877-877.

    To learn more about Summer Meals, contact Katie Hardgrove, Texas Hunger Initiative - Austin’s Child Hunger Outreach Specialist at

    Afterschool Meals

    Afterschool programs help to keep young people safe, help working families and inspire learning. These programs are also critical in providing many children with healthy, nutritious meals after school. For many of these children, that meal or snack they receive at their afterschool program is the last food they will have until a school breakfast the next morning.

    The federal Afterschool Meals Program funds afterschool meals and snacks year-round. THI is working to expand participation to ensure that all children have access to afterschool meals.

    If you know of an afterschool program that might be interested in providing federally-funded, free meals as part of their program, learn more by contacting Katie Hardgrove, THI’s Child Hunger Outreach Specialist in Austin. Local government agencies, faith-based groups and private nonprofits are all eligible to participate.

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    Community Health Assessment/Community Health Improvement Plan

    Our community is working together to improve health and wellness in Austin/Travis County. In collaboration with community members, partners, and stakeholders, the Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services Department, Travis County Health and Human Services and Veteran’s Services, Central Health, St. David’s Foundation, Seton Healthcare Family, and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Heath Austin Regional Campus is leading a comprehensive community health planning effort to measurably improve the health of Austin/Travis County residents.

    A Community Heath Assessment (CHA) engages community members and local public health system partners to collect and analyze health-related data from many sources.

    The CHA:

    The CHIP

    CHIP is an action-oriented plan that outlines the priority community health issues based on CHA findings. The community and partners work together to identify how issues will be addressed and how to measure progress. The long-term goal is to ultimately improve the community’s health. (Source: National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).) The process began in Summer 2011 and plans will be completed by December 2012.



    Utilizing the best-practice model of Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships developed by NACCHO, we will follow a structured process to assess and prioritize needs, develop and implement improvement measures, evaluate plans, and continuously improve quality.

    Social Determinants of Health

    Why is it so important to discuss what affects health and how we can improve these factors?
    Attention to health must begin long before illness--in our homes, schools, and jobs. Our opportunity for health starts long before we need medical care. All Americans should have the opportunity to make the choices that allow them to live a long, healthy life, regardless of their income, education or ethnic background.


    Please click here to view the full Community Health Assessment/Community Health Improvement Plan.

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