Jane Denkewalter

I have worked with Jane for just over six months and continue to be amazed by her energy and selflessness as she strives to provide basic food items to more than 7,000 seniors in the San Antonio Area. I am privileged to work along someone who is dedicated to the hunger fight. Jane is a "Hunger All-Star" in every since of the word. Here is her story: Project H.O.P. E started in May of 2003, under a contract between the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Food Bank. It was designed to provide free groceries to seniors 60 years or older who fell into the 185% poverty rate. Studies had indicated that seniors who were being fed lunches at the Nutrition Sites were for the most part subsisting on only that one meager meal. To this day, Jane is troubled by that fact. Jane was not searching for a job at the time and was going through a long recovery after having a brain aneurysm. For some reason that Monday she picked up the Sunday paper to practice her reading. Reading was one of the abilities Jane lost after her optic nerve had been damaged. The San Antonio Food Bank was searching for volunteers to start a new senior program. H.O.P.E. was a new program and within week she would became the solo coordinator for this ground breaking program. Day after day Jane would sort through 100’s of pallets of assorted product so that each senior would get a variety of nutritious food items. The project started with 12 distribution sites which steadily increased enrollment and distribution sites. By the end of the first year the program exceeded the contract expectations of enrollment and was providing 50 lbs of food to over 4,449 seniors. A second person had to be brought on to help coordinate the program that is currently distributing to 78 sites. The challenges have not ended, but Jane continues to remain positive. Funding has come through for four of the outlying sites through the county but the program has been forced to reduce the poundage to seniors to 25 lbs a month due to the high enrollment. Jane provides the most nutritious food available and it is her hope that this year funding will increase so that she may reach more seniors. Jane’s mantra is that “We must never forget the people who survived the depression, who fought our wars to help keep our country free. These are a proud people who are having a hard time making ends meet.” As I watch Jane work I am convinced that to many seniors Project H.O.P.E. and Jane are a God send. She stands on the side of HOPE fighting HUNGER.