The Crisis Bread Basket is the quintessential example of the “Wimberley Way” and an excellent illustration of the spirit of community and volunteerism that sets Wimberley apart. In 1986, there was a need to feed the hungry in the Wimberley community. The Crisis Bread Basket is the outgrowth of an idea that began in May of 1986 at St. Stephen’s Church in Wimberley, Texas. The idea led to a meeting between the men of St. Stephen’s Church and St. Mary’s Men’s Club in June 1986. From this meeting grew the organization and 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 $500.00 from each church allowed the group to open a bank account in the Wimberley Bank.
During the last week of June 1986, the arrangements to distribute vouchers for food through volunteers were complete. The Wimberley View had 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 came in. The Wimberley Bank donated a free bank account and a cash donation. Betty Russell also 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. Member 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. The 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 members of the Wimberley community that had applied for food vouchers. From then on, they would receive a temporary 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.