To recognize the outpouring of support from the community during the East Texas Food Bank’s crisis response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ETFB honored seven recipients with the inaugural Hunger Hero Awards.
Hunger Hero Awards were given to Brookshire Grocery Company, Longview Police Department, Smith County Government, Texas Army National Guard 1st Squadron 124th Calvary Regiment, The Mentoring Alliance, T.L.L. Temple Foundation and Tyler Police Department.
“Hunger existed in East Texas long before the pandemic hit and now more of our neighbors – kids in our children’s classes, the barista at the local coffee shop and our working-class neighbors– are struggling to put food on the table today,” said East Texas Food Bank Chief Executive Officer Dennis Cullinane. “We’re inspired by the support we’ve received from the community to help ensure that all East Texas have access to the nutritious food they need to thrive during these difficult times.”
The awards were given during Feeding America’s Hunger Action Month. The awareness month is every September and works to inspire community to take action and bring attention to the reality of Hunger in East Texas.
“It is the Tyler Police Department’s honor and privilege to fully support the highly professional and compassionate people of the East Texas Food Bank,” said Tyler Police Department Sergeant Matt Leigeber. “Our local government officials recognized early on with the COVID-19 pandemic, that many of our citizens in East Texas are facing extremely difficult times, many for the first time. When the East Texas Food Bank requested to partner with the Tyler Police Department in order to safely and efficiently serve thousands of our citizens on a regular basis, we were excited to be a part of that.”
Hunger impacts people in every corner of the country, including 282,530 people, 105,850 of which are children, right here in East Texas. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of East Texans facing hunger increased five percent and the number of children increased 10 percent.
Before the pandemic hit, one in five East Texans, including one in four children, were facing hunger. According to projections from Feeding America, now it’s nearly one in four East Texans, including one in three children.
“For 92 years, Brookshire Grocery has been committed to causes including hunger relief in the communities where we live and work. Never has the need been more pervasive or sustained than during this pandemic. We are very grateful to have been able to partner with the East Texas Food Bank to help those who have been affected by the pandemic,” said Chairman and CEO of Brookshire Grocery Co. Brad Brookshire.
“Hunger is a crisis in East Texas that will take the whole communities’ support to fight. While the fight against hunger is ongoing- together, we can feed hope for our neighbors in need,” Cullinane said.