H-E-B Tournament Brings Big Help to Eastside, Food Bank, and Beyond

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Volunteers pick onions to be donated. Photo by Scott Ball.

Volunteers pick onions to be donated. Photo by Scott Ball.

1,100.

That’s the number of H-E-B vendors, suppliers, and company employees that laced up their tennis shoes and got their hands dirty to support local nonprofits. A playground was built, food was given, and a campus was revitalized in three different locations on Thursday during a marathon-like display of the power of volunteerism.

Volunteers went to Wheatley Middle School in the Eastside to build the school and surrounding community a new park as part of San Antonio Sports’ SPARK program; served families, packed food boxes, worked in the community garden, and sorted food at the San Antonio Food Bank; and fixed up the Boysville campus, the nonprofit children’s home, in Converse.

The day of volunteering is part of the annual H-E-B Tournament of Champions. Now in its 30th year, the golf tournament and charitable event series has raised more than $80 million for more than 600 Texas nonprofits. This year the tournament alone is expected to raise $8 million.

While I couldn’t make it out to Converse today to see the work being done at Boysville, I did stop by Wheatley Middle School and the San Antonio Food Bank to see these volunteers in action:

Wheatley Middle School’s San Antonio Sports SPARK 

Wheatley Middle School students pose for a photo while a volunteer prepares to paint. Photo by Scott Ball.

Wheatley Middle School students watch as volunteers prepares to paint. Photo by Scott Ball.

Click photos to enlarge.

I spoke with volunteer and H-E-B President of San Antonio Food/Drug Division Suzanne Wade about the work being done at Wheatley Middle School. “This park and this area will be used by all of the neighborhoods around here so we are really excited about this.”

“It’s really our responsibility to give back to the community because the community has supported us over 110 years now. … We all have fun and it gives us a chance to interact in a different way than we do when we are just negotiating business. At the end of the day, we are all filthy dirty and exhausted, but it’s one of the best things we do. I think all of our suppliers would tell you that, too.”

H-E-B president of San Antonio food drug division, Suzanne Wade poses for a photo. Photo by Scott Ball.

H-E-B President of San Antonio Food/Drug Division, Suzanne Wade poses for a photo. Photo by Scott Ball.

San Antonio Food Bank 

Bags of produce are handed out to families in need of food. Photo by Scott Ball.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Bags of produce are handed out to families in need of food. Photo by Scott Ball.

Click photos to enlarge.

“We have a little less than 300 volunteers from the Tournament of Champions and they’re serving in our garden, in our kitchen, our warehouse, direct distribution, packing produce bags, they’re doing a little bit of everything to make sure no one goes hungry,” said SA Food Bank President and CEO Eric Cooper. “For a lot of kids they’re celebrating that it’s the last day in school, but for many kids they’re discouraged, they’re worried. Today’s the last day they will get access to the breakfast and lunch the school provides. The moms worried about child care expenses all summer long. Today’s activities will tee up our summer program which we will be providing meals to kids all summer long until they go back to school.

“We’re going to need a lot of support to do that but we want to make sure no child goes hungry in our community. We need volunteers, we need folks to donate food and kid friendly food, our number one item is peanut butter. We’re going to do all we can to make sure no one goes hungry, especially our kids that got out of school today.”

Click here to learn more about the food bank’s Summer Food Service Program.

President and CEO of San Antonio Food Bank Eric S. Cooper poses for a photo with volunteers. Photo by Scott Ball.

San Antonio Food Bank President and CEO Eric Cooper poses for a photo with volunteers. Photo by Scott Ball.

*Featured/top image: Volunteers pick onions to be donated.  Photo by Scott Ball.

 Related Stories:

Save the Carrots: Volunteers Needed for Food Bank Harvest

Volunteers Reshape Urban Garden in Eastside

Volunteering for The City: Giving Back by Giving Time

Sustainable Charity Takes Root at Expanding Food Bank

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