Hunger in East Texas is Growing

Before the pandemic hit our community, East Texas was already facing a hunger crisis with 1 in 5 East Texans facing hunger. Unfortunately, the number has increased and now 1 in 4 East Texans, including 1 in 3 children, are facing hunger each day.

The pandemic has presented the perfect storm of increased need for food assistance, declines in donations of food and challenges to how food banks operate.

Hunger can affect people from all walks of life. Many families are one job loss or medical crisis away from needing help. Many times, it’s families who have done everything by the book, but still find themselves in need of help.

Hunger affects families like DeAdra’s. DeAdra wants a better childhood for her three-year-old son with special needs but struggles to put food on the table while caring for him full-time. With her local food pantry, DeAdra is now able to provide healthy food for Dacian and herself. “I’d spent many days going to sleep with an empty stomach, making sure he had all the food in the house,” DeAdra said.

The East Texas Food Bank is dedicated to making sure East Texas families like DeAdra’s have access to the healthy food they need to thrive. But we couldn’t do it without you!

September is Hunger Action Month and we need the whole communities support to help us fight hunger and feed hope. No action is too small! Here’s how you can get involved:

How Hunger Affects Seniors like Mary

The rate of hunger among seniors aged 60 and older has increased drastically over the past 20 years, and now COVID-19 puts even more at-risk. Seniors facing hunger increased by 38% since 2001 and as America ages, hunger pains grow.

According to Feeding America:

·       63% of seniors are forced to choose between food and medical care.

·       Households served by the Feeding America network that includes an adult of the age 50 or older are at an increased risk of having someone with a chronic health condition, including diabetes (41%) and high blood pressure (70%)- conditions that can be mitigated by healthy food options.

·       Only 48% of eligible seniors are enrolled and receiving SNAP benefits.

Hunger affects seniors we serve like, Mary. As a certified nursing assistant for 30 years, Mary was used to taking care of people. But after having a stroke, the tables turned.

“I was taking care of people practically all my life,” she said. “And then I had to have someone take care of me. It was really hard.”

Since the stroke, Mary can’t work. On disability, she’s not able to afford the food she needs. But she gets some help from a food pantry working.

“The food I get at the pantry is a big help to me. I wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise,” she said.

Mary is used to working, but for now, the pantry is helping fill in the gaps.

“I never expected to need this help,” she said. “But I’m glad it’s there now.”​

The East Texas Food Bank is dedicated to making sure East Texas seniors, like Mary, have access to the healthy food they need to thrive. We serve seniors through our Senior Box Program, Fresh Produce Program, Partner Food Pantries and Soup Kitchen, and our Benefits Assistance Program.

But we couldn’t serve some of East Texan’s most vulnerable with the community’s support! For Hunger Action Month, you can volunteer, host a virtual food drive (online fundraiser), make a one-time or monthly donation or share our messages on social media.

Hunger deprives our kids of more than just food

It’s a simple fact: A child’s chance for a bright tomorrow starts with getting enough food to eat today. But this year, due in part to the coronavirus pandemic, 105,850 East Texas children – 1 in every 3 kids – may not know where they will get their next meal.

Kids who don’t get enough to eat — especially during their first three years — begin life at a serious disadvantage. When they’re hungry, children are more likely to be hospitalized and they face higher risks of health conditions like anemia and asthma. And as they grow up, kids struggling to get enough to eat are more likely to have problems in school and other social situations.

The East Texas Food Bank works to fight hunger for children through year-round programs. On the weekends, our Backpack Program provides easy to open food that doesn’t require any cooking. After school, the Kids Café program provides healthy snacks and meals. During the summer, the Summer Food Program provides healthy breakfast and lunch meals. At home, our Food Pantry Partners and Benefits Assistance Program provide meals for the whole family.

We have a responsibility to the next generation to give them every opportunity to succeed — which in turn will strengthen our East Texas communities. That’s why feeding children facing hunger is a main priority for the East Texas Food Bank, but we can’t do it without your help. September is Hunger Action Month and we need everyone helping us fight hunger.

No action is too small! Sharingvolunteeringfundraising and donating are a few ways you can help us fight hunger. See how you can be a hunger hero for the children in your community by clicking here,

September is Hunger Action Month

Food insecurity is a reality for 1 in 4 East Texans, including 1 in 3 children today.  To help fight hunger, the East Texas Food Bank is participating in Feeding America’s nationwide Hunger Action Month campaign during the month of September. Hunger Action Month is designed to mobilize the public to take action on the issue of hunger. Everyone can be a hunger hero and no action is too small!

Be a Hunger Hero

Donate

For every $1 that is donated to the East Texas Food Bank, we can provide up to 8 meals for children, families and seniors that struggle with hunger. Make a gift now and consider setting up a monthly donation to help us fight hunger all year!

Host a Virtual Food Drive

Any person, business or organization can host a virtual food drive with their own unique page to raise funds for the East Texas Food Bank. Virtual food drives raise dollars instead of cans, which helps the East Texas Food Bank provide even more food for the families we serve. Sign up to host a Virtual Food Drive.

Volunteer

The East Texas Food Bank relies on volunteers to help us fulfill our mission. We welcome all volunteers over the age of 8, and have a variety of volunteer opportunities available for individuals, families and groups! Find out more about volunteering.

Connect and share on social media

You can use the power of your social network to help us reach even more people and inform them of the work we do every day to help end hunger in East Texas. Be sure to follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Sign up for our emails

Keep up with the latest news and updates from the East Texas Food Bank by signing up for emails.

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!

Three ways we are feeding children during the new school year

School Child with Meal

Schools in East Texas are looking a lot different for students and parents in East Texas due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Difficult decisions are being made about whether to send children to school or keep them at home, learning from a distance. And, of course, we all have questions about what the future holds.

In East Texas today, 1 in 3 children are facing hunger. This includes children who depend on free or reduced meals they would normally be receiving in school. This puts even more pressure on the parents of these children as they question “who is going to feed them during the upcoming months?”

The good news is that the East Texas Food Bank, our partner agencies and Feeding America are working hard preparing to ensure children have the food they need as they return to school, whether that be on campus or virtually.

Here is how we are helping this school year:

  1. BackPack Program – The East Texas Food Bank partners with school throughout our 26 county service area to provide food for children who are at risk of going hungry on weekends and holidays. Our plan is to support 148 school sites with food that children that are enrolled in the BackPack Program can take home for the weekend. We anticipate serving 6,600 children this year. Click here to read more about this program.
  2. Kids Café & Afterschool Snack Program – This program provides free meals and snacks to low-income children through a variety of existing community locations where children gather such as Boys & Girls Clubs, churches or public schools. Our plan is to support 23 sites with snacks and meals for children. Click here to read more about this program.
  3. Curbside Distributions – When schools closed earlier this year, the East Texas Food Bank was able to partner with school campuses to distribute nutritious food to families as they picked up school work and campus meals. Should schools close again, we will be able to help in this capacity once more.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we are continuing to help the children, families and seniors who desperately need our help during this crisis. But we can’t do it without our gratuitous donors and volunteers. You can help support our mission of “fighting hunger and feeding hope” by giving a gift today to the East Texas Food Bank or finding out how to volunteer with us.