The East Texas Food Bank (ETFB) Longview Resource Center will open in October as part of ETFB’s overall strategic plan aimed at expanding programs, distributing more food and serving more people.
The Longview center is located near Interstate 20 at 2900 Signal Hill Drive in the heart of several high-need neighborhoods where 28% of residents, nearly 20,000 people, currently live below the federal poverty line.
“We are committed to addressing the issues of hunger and eliminating barriers in Gregg County,” said David Emerson, CEO of the East Texas Food Bank. “We estimate that ETFB will provide 936,000 meals annually at the Longview location.”
The Longview branch will include a “Healthy Food Pantry” to provide nutritious food through a client-choice distribution model. The center will be open four days a week including evenings and Saturday mornings to increase access to food assistance. The Benefits Assistance Program will help clients apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other social services. Medical screenings will be offered through healthcare providers.
“The food pantry is meant to serve households at or below the emergency food income guidelines,” said Tim Butler, Chief Development Officer. “For example, a family of four would qualify to receive food if they make less than $55,500 per year. Other people who qualify to receive assistance are those experiencing a crisis such as a house fire, tornado, or extreme medical bills.”
According to “Map the Meal Gap”, an annual study conducted by Feeding America, an estimated 15% of Gregg County residents are food insecure and at risk of hunger, including almost 22% of children.
“With the current high food costs and living expenses, many families are struggling to make ends meet, and some people are seeking food assistance for the first time,” said Tabitha Johnson, Longview Resource Center Branch Manager. “Unfortunately, many East Texans have little or no access to fresh produce and other healthy food options. We hope they will take that first step in coming to our pantry so we can help them with their food needs.”
While the facility was under construction, ETFB’s Longview Resource Center distributed food the past year through one of our partner agencies at the First United Methodist Church Beacon Center with generous support from CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health System.
“We have been a part of the Longview community for a long time but excited to finally have this branch location to complement our partners,” said Emerson.
ETFB has 13 partner agencies in Gregg County. You can find a list of them at EastTexasFoodBank.org, click on Find Food at the top of the page, and enter the county you live in for the nearest location to your residence.
The Longview Resource Center will open in mid-October. For more information on how you can volunteer, donate or hours, or to see if you qualify to receive food assistance according to the emergency food income guidelines, please visit LRCpantry.org