San Antonio Food Bank mega distribution sites

Photo: google

The COVID-19 crisis continues to strain the donated food supply generally available to the San Antonio Food Bank. Limited donated food availability is demanding the Food Bank adapt its distribution methods to ensure equitable food access across the Food Bank’s 16-county service territory. The Food Bank is now consolidating the weekly mobile distributions it fulfills and supports during normal business operations to only a handful of “mega distribution sites” for the remainder of the COVID-19 response effort. (San Antonio Food Bank, 2020)

These mega distribution sites are intended to get emergency food to households in immediate need. The Food Bank hopes that its network of 500+ food pantries across the region, along with the many programs and services offered by the Food Bank will continue to meet ongoing needs.

Individuals seeking immediate help can sign up online for an upcoming mega distribution at or by calling the Food Bank’s helpline during normal business hours: 210-431-8326. Pre-registration is required.

This new distribution effort also means a new opportunity for volunteers to engage in acts of service during the COVID-19 crisis. Volunteers will be asked to follow the strict safety protocols put in place by the Food Bank as a response to this crisis. Those interested in volunteering at a public distribution can sign up online and click on “volunteer sign up.”


Book review: ‘Fly, Butterfly’ by Annicken R. Day

‘Fly, Butterfly’ is Annicken R. Day’s debut novel. Photo: google

Annicken R. Day is the founder and CEO of Corporate Spring, co-author of the book “Creative Superpowers,” public speaker, executive advisor and a passionate maverick for new ways of thinking, working and leading in the new world of work. After fifteen years as a leader and executive in the IT industry, Annicken jumped off the corporate treadmill in 2012 to start her own company, Corporate Spring, with a mission to make the corporate world a happier place. Since then she and her team have helped and trained thousands of leaders around the world on how to build thriving corporate cultures, high performing teams and successful businesses. “Fly, Butterfly,” Annicken R. Day’s debut novel, is the personal and professional metamorphosis story about Maya Williams, an ambitious, stressed-out New York businesswoman who is stymied on her way up the corporate ladder by sexist executives.

“Fly, Butterfly” begins as New York businesswoman Maya Williams, Vice President of sales, is getting ready to board a plane to Honolulu to give her monthly presentation to Technoguard, Inc.’s executive team. Her team sells cybersecurity to several companies but when she gets intel that there is a bug in their system, she is forced to share the information with her boss. Instead of taking the information and trying to fix the bug before the big meeting, her boss insists she disregard the information. During the presentation, she does the unthinkable and admits to prospective investors that they should hold off until the bug is fixed. Confident that she has committed career suicide, she decides to stay on the island a while longer. During this time, she learns to chill and meets people who open her eyes to different ways of thinking, being, living and ultimately, working. When she goes back to New York as a transformed person, she decides to apply the lessons she learned to the company she leads. Her goal is to make it into a kind of utopia that is actually normal in other developed nations that have healthy, happy and productive citizens.

Annicken R. Day’s debut novel combines motivational and inspirational lessons with one woman’s journey from burnt out executive to enlightened leader who transforms her workplace culture. The author brings her message across in an easy to read manner that makes this a definite page-turner. In beautiful descriptive language: “Large, colorful bushes separated the intensely green lawn from the sand, and behind it was the crystal blue ocean for as far as I could see. It looked like diamonds were dancing in its waves” she successfully paints a picture of Hawaii’s magnificence. The characters are well developed but there is no real background information on the father, who pops up every now and then; this would help readers better understand his influence on Maya, just like her mother influenced her. One has to wonder why someone so supposedly put together and intelligent would be sloppy with her love life, i.e. not very confident, but luckily she gets her happily ever after. Among the many people she meets along her journey, the standout is Josh, the surfer dude she first meets after that disastrous meeting. “I glanced over at Josh. I couldn’t help thinking that he was one of the most beautiful men I had ever seen, like a blond Greek god. He looked very young, maybe twenty-seven. Yet something about him felt very old.” He is the first of many who teach her life lessons but at the end she finds out through the locals that he died the previous year in a surfing accident. It is rare for a book to elicit such an emotional response but considering the world’s current situation, it serves as a reminder to set priorities and strive for a well-balanced life. “Fly, Butterfly” is an inspirational story about how lives can be transformed when people learn to follow their passion and heart to enrichen their personal and professional lives.

*The author received a copy of this book for an honest review. The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to her.

Texas Young Masters 2020 announced this week

The 2020 class of Texas Young Masters was announced this week. Photo: google

The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) and Texas Cultural Trust are proud to announce the 2020 class of Texas Young Masters, a joint program that provides exemplary student artists in grades 8 through 11 with grants to pursue advanced study in their artistic discipline, including visual arts, literary arts, music, theater, dance, musical theater, folk arts, media arts and other. These 15 students represent the 10th class of Texas Young Masters and 11 Texas cities. Every two years since 2002, the TCA and Texas Cultural Trust have awarded more than $1 million to 169 young Texans. (Texas Cultural Trust, 2020)

On Friday, TCA Commissioners convened via conference call and unanimously confirmed the 2020 class of Texas Young Masters. These students are Texas’ most talented young artists and will receive the esteemed “Young Master” title and will be awarded scholastic grants of $10,000, disbursed over two years to advance their artistic study.

The 2020 class of Texas Young Masters:

  • Jordan Apodaca, 11th grade, Dallas, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, Dance
  • Ava Arbuckle, 9th grade, Frisco, iUniversity Preparatory School, Dance/Ballet
  • Hannah Bambach, 11th grade, Dallas, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, Literary Arts/Playwriting
  • Haley Beck, 10th grade, Allen, Allen High School, Dance
  • Christian Burse, 10th grade, Dallas, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, Dance
  • Claire Druffner, 11th grade, Dallas, Coram Deo Academy, Music/Cello
  • Vincent Garcia-Hettinger, 9th grade, San Antonio, Brandeis High School, Music/Cello
  • Colby Golightly, 11th grade, North Richland Hills, Richland High School, Visual Arts/Painting
  • Kali Kleiman, 11th grade, Frisco, iUniversity Preparatory School, Dance/Ballet
  • Cayden McCoy, 11th grade, League City, Clear Springs High School, Theater
  • Ellie Palacios, 10th grade, Harlingen, Harlingen South High School, Musical Theater
  • Isobel Perez, 10th grade, Houston, Kinder High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, Literary Arts/Poetry
  • Keshav Srinivasan, 10th grade, Sunset Valley, Liberal Arts and Science Academy, Music/Violin
  • Michelle Wang, 11th grade, Sugar Land, Clements High School, Visual Arts
  • Somesh Yatham, 10th grade, Round Rock, Round Rock High School, Music/Orchestral Composition

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration scheduled for April 20, 2020, to honor these Young Masters has been cancelled. TCA and the Trust will continue to honor their commitment to fund their artistic study. These scholarship grants are made possible by the generosity of individual donors, organizations, and foundations. To fulfill this obligation, the Texas Cultural Trust has launched a crowdfunding campaign to benefit the 2020 grantees. These students will be introduced and recognized through videos to be shared over digital and social media in April and May.

“The Young Masters grant program was created as a way to recognize and support young people pursuing the dream of becoming prominent Texan artists of the next generation. Young artists earn the Young Masters title through their outstanding artistic ability, talent, and dedication to developing their knowledge in their chosen discipline. We congratulate them on their accomplishments.” – TCA Executive Director Gary Gibbs


Special market hours at La Gloria for medical professionals and first responders

La Gloria Grocery Market has special hours designated for medical professionals and first responders. Photo: Pearl, used with permission.

Starting on Thursday, March 26, La Gloria at Pearl has started offering a special time for the medical community to shop at the La Gloria Grocery Market. Due to the current limited offerings and hours at grocery stores in the later part of the day, the La Gloria Market will be extending its hours from 6p.m. to 9p.m. for medical professionals and first responders only. Customers must show a valid medical ID to enter the La Gloria Market during these hours. (Pearl, 2020)

There will also be an online ordering system and curbside pick-up starting on Monday, March 30. This service will be exclusively provided for medical and first responders. La Gloria will be requesting a valid medical ID at time of pickup.

The La Gloria Market carries essential items like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, dairy products, fresh produce, bottled water and pantry items. La Gloria is also offering to-go meals, family style meals and more.

“I feel like La Gloria has long been a community dinner table of folks from all parts of San Antonio and I’m very happy that during this difficult time we can continue to serve our city through our new Grocery Market. Most importantly, we all know that medical workers and first responders are on the front line of this effort to beat COVID-19 and we want to make it convenient and easy for them to do their shopping.” – La Gloria Chef and Owner Johnny Hernandez.

San Antonio Book Festival book recommendations

The San Antonio Book Festival brings together readers and writers to celebrate the literary world. Photo: San Antonio Book Festival, used with permission.

The San Antonio Book Festival was supposed to take place this April 4 but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The festival would still like to encourage people to read while at home during this time of social distancing and quarantine. They have put together a list of recommended books for adults as well as options for parents to provide for their children while homeschooling. (San Antonio Book Festival, 2020)

If You Feel Like Confronting the Pandemic Head-On:
– “Cold Storage” by David Koepp
– “The Memory Police” by Yoko Ogawa
– “Severance” by Ling Ma
– “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel
– “The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller

– “Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World” by Laura Spinney

If You’d Rather Be Distracted:
– “The Jetsetters” by Amanda Eyre Ward
– “A Good Neighborhood” by Therese Anne Fowler
– “Simon the Fiddler” by Paulette Jiles

– “The Hunt for History” by Nathan Raab
– “The Falcon Thief” by Joshua Hammer
– “The Rumi Prescription” by Melody Moezzi

For Kids/Teens Stuck at Home: 
– “Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom” by Louis Sachar
– “Prairie Lotus” by Linda Sue Park
– “Amal Unbound” by Aisha Saeeed

– “Tigers, Not Daughters” by Samantha Mabry
– “The Hand on the Wall” by Maureen Johnson
– “Bull” by David Elliott

The mission of the San Antonio Book Festival (SABF) is to unite readers and writers in a celebration of ideas, books, libraries, and literary culture. SABF was first presented in April 2013. Founding partners include the San Antonio Public Library, the Southwest School of Art, the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, and Texas Book Festival. This “Fiesta for the mind” is a gift to visitors and the citizens of San Antonio, free and open to all.

Renowned geneticist makes her debut as novelist with ‘Double Blind: The Icelandic Manuscript Murders’

Sara Winokur’s ‘Double Blind: The Icelandic Manuscript Murders’ is the geneticist’s debut novel and will be available on Tuesday March 31. Photo: google

Sara Winokur is a Ph.D. molecular geneticist and the author of the Icelandic mystery, “Double Blind: The Icelandic Manuscript Murders.” In the past, she has worked on DNA analysis of human genetic diseases and she was part of the team that discovered the genes associated with Muscular Dystrophy, Huntington’s Disease, and Dwarfism. Dozens of her articles have been published in scientific journals. Her research has appeared in Human Molecular Genetics, Nature Genetics and Cell Stem Cell. Sara remains a well-respected figure in the scientific community. (Black Château, 2020)

Twenty years after a young boy disappears in the chill of North Iceland, a mysterious poem lands on the desk of his twin sister Brynja, a forensic geneticist, and rekindles her hopes that her brother might be alive. As Brynja unravels the clues, more poems arrive, each bearing dire consequences for those who receive them: the guard of the medieval manuscript of Icelandic sagas that possibly has the answer to her burning question, the prime minister’s secretary and the local pastor. Fighting the visual auras that have plagued her since childhood and now threaten everything she holds dear, Brynja must summon the strength to navigate the twisted labyrinth of the poet’s mind and confront the dark secret buried in her family’s past. Dubbed “a riveting mystery tale with a compelling lead character” by Kirkus Reviews, “Double Blind: The Icelandic Manuscript Murders” immerses the reader in the surreal landscapes and rich culture of Iceland. It is a wild ride from rural farmsteads to icy fjords to the high-tech world of DNA forensics lead by a strong female character.

“Because I’m so passionate about travel, culture, and landscapes, it can’t help but be a big part of my writing. When I wrote Double Blind, I tried to integrate the science of genetics and Icelandic culture with the story,” – Sara Winokur.

“Double Blind: The Icelandic Manuscript Murders” is available on pre-order in digital version on Amazon and will be officially released on March 31, 2020.

Pearl retailers now offer curbside service

The Pearl is now offering customers curbside service for selected retailers. Photo: Pearl, used with permission.

Pearl is continuing its dedication to small businesses by organizing curbside pickup for property retailers amid COVID-19. (Pearl, 2020)

Beginning on Friday, March 20, the following retailers will be offering curbside service:

Retail curbside pickup will be every Friday from 2p.m. to 3 p.m. (prior to Pearl Farmers Market curbside pickup starting at 3p.m.) in front of the Pearl Stable, located at 307 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78215. Additional online, delivery and curbside pickup options may be available per retailers; please consult individual stores for available options.


Whataburger offering temporary curbside service

Whataburger is offering temporary curbside service. Photo: Whataburger, used with permission.

Whataburger is now offering temporary curbside service during select hours. Drive-thru will be available 24/7 while dining rooms remain closed. As communities work together to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Whataburger remains committed to serving our customers, many of whom are working long hours and caring for their families at home. To help, Whataburger has kicked off a temporary new curbside service. Instead of walking your order to your table, they will be walking it to your car. This service is available between 8a.m. and 8p.m. to guests who order online or on the Whataburger App. (Whataburger, 2020)

If you drive an oversized vehicle – such as an 18-wheeler or a firetruck – you can place an order online, park your vehicle nearby and walk up to our curbside employee to pick up your order.

This service is available ONLY between the hours of 8a.m. and 8p.m. for the safety of guests and employees. Whataburger restaurants continue to offer a full menu in the drive-thru 24/7.

“As families and communities adjust to the changes around them, we’re proud to continue to offer a warm meal and a kind word. Above all, we’re committed to a safe experience for our Family Members and guests.” – Rob Rodriguez, Whataburger’s SVP and Chief Restaurant Officer.

To use Whataburger curbside service:

  • Between 8a.m.-8p.m., order online or on the Whataburger App, available on the Apple Store and Google Play
  • Select your preferred Whataburger location.
  • Create your customized online order.
  • Select the Curbside pickup method when prompted.
  • When you arrive at your Whataburger, tell the employee at the curbside pickup area your name, and that you placed your order online.
  • You will be directed to the designated curbside parking spaces.

San Antonio Food Bank’s ‘Neighbor Helping Neighbor’

The San Antonio Food Bank launched its ‘Neighbor Helping Neighbor’ to reach out to individuals and families in need. Photo: Google

After a two-week effort to front-load low-income households with groceries and household supplies, the San Antonio Food Bank is launching a new phase in its coronavirus response: the Neighbor Helping Neighbor relief effort. (San Antonio Food Bank, 2020)

The core components of this effort are two-fold: 1) ensuring every kitchen table in Southwest Texas has the core food items needed to get through this crisis; and, 2) ensuring that all our neighbors who might be elderly and living alone get a visit. The Food Bank will be adding mobile, grab-and-go meals and food distributions daily throughout Southwest Texas. Their website has up-to-date information on how and where individuals can get help.

With the economy suffering and San Antonio already struggling with the highest poverty rate in the country, the Food Bank is prepared to grow with the expanded need. The Food Bank’s website is the best place for information on how to give help. Volunteers are still in need, and one does not need to leave their house to be a good neighbor: every $1 provides 10 pounds of food/supplies to “Neighbor helping Neighbor.” The Food Bank is emphasizing that money donations are preferred over food donations; this allows the Food Bank to target specific items in specific quantity.

“This great city of ours has always been a city of compassion, and our state is known for its hospitality. The crisis in our midst is an opportunity for us to shine and lend support during a neighbor’s season of need. We may have a neighbor near us without food or without a family member to visit and check on them. “Neighbor helping Neighbor” is about stocking the shelf and filling the heart.” – Eric Cooper, President & CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank

As for visits to the elderly and making sure that social isolation is minimized for our older neighbors, Cooper admits it is been something they started to do in the last year, thanks to funding from Humana, and that they learned a lot: “We have been setting the tables for seniors for years, but making home visits to thousands of seniors in the last year or so has reminded us that a table full of food can be empty of love if someone doesn’t have a friend or neighbor. We want our relief effort to be a kitchen table filled with both food and love.”

Pearl farmer’s market offers online ordering and curbside pick up

Pearl Farmers Market has gone online for now. Photo: Pearl, used with permission.

Pearl Farmers Market has transitioned to online ordering and curbside pickup to better serve the community given the current state of affairs and concerns surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Pearl is dedicated to fostering community and supporting our farmers and small businesses during this difficult time while prioritizing the health and safety of visitors and vendors. (Pearl, 2020)

For this reason, the Farmers Market will be going online to ensure that customers can continue to receive the produce, meat, dairy, eggs, pantry items and specialty foods they need. Customers may go to online to select specific items and create custom orders for pickup. A $25 seasonal bag that offers a variety of produce options will also be available. All orders must be submitted by Wednesday at midnight for pickup on Friday. Curbside pickup is available from 3p.m. to 7p.m. on Fridays at Pearl Stable; 307 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78215. Upon arrival, follow the signs to the curbside location and Pearl representatives will be on hand to deliver your bag to your vehicle.

“This is a trying time for people around the globe and we are doing everything we can to help people get through this. We understand that many people rely on the weekly Farmers Market and we hope this online experience will give everyone the resources they need, all while supporting our farmers.” – Nancy Fitch, Sr. Markets Manager at Pearl

Pearl Stable
307 Pearl Pkwy
San Antonio, TX  78215