Summer Food Program wraps up 16th year of serving meals

The East Texas Food Bank Summer Food Program has wrapped up for the year! The program started in 2005 and serves children under 18 when they no longer have access to free and reduced meal programs at school.

Because of COVID-19, our sites had to change to drive-thru pickup and allow children to take their meals home to eat so ensure social distancing and the safety of staff and families. Despite the temporary changes this year, over 22,600 breakfasts and lunches were distributed at 25 sites throughout East Texas.

“I think we fed more kids this year (with the changes),” said Ellann Johnson Executive Director at HOPE Jacksonville. HOPE Jacksonville is an East Texas Food Bank partner agency. “Parents were relieved they didn’t have to pack up the kids and expose them to any germs or COVID-19.”

This was the first year HOPE Jacksonville had a summer feeding site at their organization, but Johnson said it wasn’t the first time they’ve helped with the program. “We supported the volunteers at Sweet Union Apartments here in Jacksonville in previous years.” she said.

Johnson said kids liked all the meals, but an old standard really stood out. “Just the regular ham and cheese sandwich is their favorite,” she said. Johnson also added that the kids enjoyed the vegetable fruit juices that were available this year.

In addition to providing the summer food meals, HOPE Jacksonville also utilized their kitchen on-site to provide an additional meal to children.

“Kids took away a hot meal and the summer food meal,” Johnson said. “I think that was a big bonus.”

The East Texas Food Bank will continue to serve the over 105,000 children who are facing hunger today in our service area. For more information about our other Child Hunger Programs, click here.

Thank you to all our donors and partner agencies who made this program possible and for providing nutritious children for East Texas children facing hunger!