Wimberley Crisis Bread Basket is the quintessential example of the “Wimberley Way” and a beautiful illustration of the spirit of community and volunteerism that sets Wimberley apart. In 1986, there was a need to address people experiencing food-insecurity in the Wimberley community. An idea began in May at St. Stephen’s Church in Wimberley, Texas which led to a meeting between the men of St. Stephen’s Church and St. Mary’s Men’s Club in June. From this meeting grew the organization registered as Crisis Breadbasket and using the name Wimberley Crisis Bread Basket. Tom Hingle of St. Stephens was elected Chairman, and Jack Maher of St. Mary’s became Vice Chairman. Within a week, donations of $500 from each church allowed the group to begin operating.
During the last week of June 1986, the arrangements to distribute vouchers for food through volunteers were complete. The Wimberley View agreed to publish two telephone numbers each week for the volunteers. The first voucher was distributed for food at The Country Boy super market.
In July, the United Methodist Church joined the original sponsors, and in August, the Lion’s Club began its support. The Wimberley Bank donated a free bank account and a cash donation. Betty Russell agreed to serve as the first Secretary and Treasurer.
By mid-August 1986, it became apparent that a single food voucher could not meet the needs of the food insecure in the area. Members of the community in need of assistance were mostly unemployed parents in single parent households and the elderly. While they were eligible for Food Stamps or Social Security, the small benefits left them unable to pay rent and put food on the table.
In late August 1986, it was decided in a board meeting to distribute weekly food baskets to the most needy. A drive was started both in the churches and by the Lions Club to collect canned food for distribution.
Arrangements were made with the San Marcos Food Bank to share in their collections from the area markets. Wimberley Ace Hardware agreed to give Crisis Bread Basket produce and other products which they did not sell promptly. Later, the Wimberley Express also donated unused food.
On September 18, 1986, the first baskets were distributed to members of the Wimberley community that had applied for food vouchers. From then on, they would receive a weekly food basket supplement to allow their limited budgets to meet their needs. The response to the request for food from the people of Wimberley was met with great success and generosity.
During the first year of operations, food was stored at the Midwifery owned by Ann Digma and with the assistance from Lions Club, Ace, San Marcos Food Bank, and Wimberley View, over four hundred food baskets were provided.
In 1987, Exxon donated funds for a freezer and refrigerator. By this time, Wimberley Crisis Bread Basket was serving fifty families per week (130 people).
During this time, Wimberley Crisis Bread Basket moved from using the Midwifery to a store (formerly the Radio Shack) on the “Y”. The store was owned by the McCrocklin family who allowed us to have a rent free home for about ten years.
The number of community supporters continued to grow including help from Wimberley View, Ace Hardware, Cypress Creek Café, Senior Citizen Center, Woman’s Club, Civic Club, Lions Club, Beta Sigma Pi, Woodcreek Woman’s Golf Club and others.
In 1997, the McCrocklin family sold the store and we had to find a new home. The Wimberley Senior Citizens Activities, Inc (WSCAI) offered the use of a small plot of land to Crisis Breadbasket at our current location. Peg Maher, then Crisis Breadbasket Board Chair, fundraised $15,000 for the current pantry building. In 2013, the pantry was remodeled and back porch and ramp added through the efforts of Signe Griffin (then Board Chair), $5,727 in donations, and lots of volunteer labor.
Over the years, Wimberley Crisis Bread Basket has served an increasing number of households of our neighbors-in-need. In 2007, we added the second weekly distribution to further increase the opportunity for our neighbors-in-need to use our services. As a response to the CoVID19 pandemic, we provided from October 2020 until February 2023 monthly grocery store vouchers for households in addition to the weekly food distributions to provide them more flexibility to address their needs.
In 2022, Wimberley Crisis Bread Basket provided 3,518 weekly household food distributions to 325 different households. More than half of these households used our services for the first time.
Our ability to provide meaningful and reliable support each week to the food-insecure in Wimberley is made possible only through the steadfast, generous donations and volunteer support from our community. We do not take the community support which we have received over the decades for granted. Wimberley Crisis Bread Basket is truly a community of neighbors-in-need, volunteers, and donors and we are committed to our mission of “Neighbors helping neighbors by providing food and encouragement.”