Alumna raises $100k for local food pantry
On January 1, Texas State University alumna Maureen Schein (B.A. 2011) was promoted to Development Director at the Canyon Lake Community Resource and Recreation Center (CRRC), where she had managed the food pantry, financial assistance, and medical equipment loan programs for the previous ten years. When COVID-19 broke out, the organization saw a 51.5% increase in access to the food pantry compared to the last year, which spurred Schein to begin her first fundraising campaign as Development Director; a campaign that has already raised over $100,000.
The CRRC has had a presence in Canyon Lake since 1983, when it was developed to assist community members with transport to medical appointments and has expanded over time to include a food pantry, thrift store, clinic, and mental health services.
The spread of COVID-19 and corresponding social distancing measures has affected the CRRC in a variety of ways, including the temporary closure of the thrift store, which usually generates 50 to 55% of the organization’s revenue and covers operational costs and payroll.
Over the last few months, food security has become a top priority at the CRRC. Their financial assistance program has been curtailed while more resources are funneled into the food pantry, which has moved to a curbside delivery model. “We feel like food needs to be the first focus,” says Schein, “It’s a basic need and if people don’t have money at all, we need to make sure that they have food.”
In addition to the food pantry, the CRRC hosts a program called Abundant Bags for Children, or ABC, every summer to provide monthly bags of kid-friendly meals and snacks to children while they are out of school. With living rooms becoming classrooms, Schein says they decided to kick off the program early in order to meet community need.
With food demand increasing and revenue decreasing, Schein, along with her supervisor, saw the need to kickstart her first fundraising campaign as Development Director. Utilizing email and social media, she began to ask the Canyon Lake community to support the CRRC through their Give Local fundraising campaign. When she launched the campaign on March 11, her goal was to raise $65,000. By April 24, she had raised over $100,000. She credits the campaign’s success to the people of Canyon Lake. “Our community is amazing,” she says, “they make me look good.”
Schein is heartened by the generosity of the community, not only in their donations, but also in their willingness to volunteer. As some have had to back away from shifts due to their own health concerns and those of their families, new volunteers have come forward to fill gaps. “It’s been really encouraging to have people saying ‘we will volunteer, we’ll cover your holes,’” she says, adding that the donations from others in the community demonstrate how appreciated those volunteers are.