35th Year Doc & Gayle Young Food Drive Delivers $45,000 in Holiday Meals to 1,300 Families


The Austin Apartment Association (AAA) celebrates a different sort of delivery day today, as part of its 35th annual Doc & Gayle Young Food Drive. The volunteer-driven effort raised more than $45,000 in 2021 to help provide holiday meals for Austin-area families. 

The food drive began 35 years ago in 1986 when the AAA Community Service committee raised $600 to feed hungry Austinites. Prior to the pandemic, more than 100 AAA member volunteers collected funds each year, purchased food and hand-delivered collected food packs to its non-profit and affordable housing partner organizations. This year, due to the lingering pandemic and supply-chain challenges, the funds raised allowed apartment industry volunteers to purchase H-E-B Turkey Vouchers and Gift Cards to help Austin-area families enjoy Thanksgiving meals. 

“The joy of Thanksgiving happens around the meal – preparing it and sharing it,” said Emily Blair, Executive Vice President at AAA. “Every year, apartment industry professionals in Austin come together to support our community whether it is to collect food, deliver donated welcome kits for our neighbors exiting homelessness, or help renters gain rental assistance, to name a few. We knew we could meet the needs of the community - just as we did last year in the throes of the pandemic – so we did what multifamily professionals do best – adjusted our approach and found a way to make it work to meet the need.”

(Pictured left to right) SAFE Alliance Shelter Operations Manager Zandra Gauthier picks up 50 Thanksgiving meal vouchers from Austin Apartment Association (AAA) Executive Vice President Emily Blair for families served by the non-profit agency. AAA members raised $45,000 in its 2021 annual food drive, which celebrates a 35-year-history of volunteerism and giving.

Blair said 100 percent of collected donations are being distributed today, on what is typically the “delivery day” for the Annual Doc & Gayle Young Food Drive, through the Association’s partner organizations to feed families and individuals in the greater Austin area.  Partner organizations include:

  • The Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA)
  • The Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services Rainbow Room
  • SAFE Austin
  • Foundation Communities

“For 35 years, AAA has been a valuable partner of HACA,” said Leilani Lim-Villegas, Senior Director of Community Development for the Housing Authority of the City of Austin. “Although this year may look different, 100 percent of their generous donation is being distributed today to 650 low-income families at 18 of our public housing and Section 8 properties through HEB gift cards. Again this year, HACA residents can prepare a wonderful family holiday dinner -- a  once-a-year meal our residents enjoy and count on.  AAA members again stepped up to meet the most basic of human needs, as they do in their careers, to find a way to provide needed resources to our communities. We acknowledge AAA for their consistent dedication to help build and support our communities with successful initiatives such as this food drive.”
Since the food drive’s inception 35 years ago, AAA has raised more than $950,000 in donations. Austin residents have received more than 25,000 Thanksgiving Food Packs from the Doc & Gayle Young Food Drive since 1986. Additional details and donation information can be found at http://www.austinfooddrive.com.