East Texas schools tackle childhood hunger through backpack programs

Sabine ISD volunteer Misty Gee believes area school districts’ backpack programs help build relationships between families and schools.
“(Families) know that someone is looking out for them,” she said.

Districts, which rely on donations of money, food and more to operate the programs, are seeking community support as they begin to fill backpacks with food and other essential items for students to take home.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food insecurity is “the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.” More than 25 percent of children living in Gregg, Harrison, Rusk and Upshur counties live with food insecurity, according to the national nonprofit group Feeding America.
(Read more from Longview News Journal)

SFA community nutrition students to lead Cooking Matters program

Representatives from the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler recently visited Stephen F. Austin State University to kick off a six-week Cooking Matters program in Nacogdoches.

This is the fourth year SFA’s School of Human Sciences has partnered with the food bank to provide this informative and interactive program to the community. Justin Pelham, food, nutrition and dietetics clinical instructor at SFA, is using this program as a class project to provide an opportunity for students to showcase their skills in a real-world setting.

“My intention for the SFA community nutrition course is providing real-world application to our students by plugging them in to relevant outreach events in East Texas,” Pelham said. “These opportunities enhance each student’s learning experience while working with underserved populations in our community, thus making a significant impact in the student’s lives well past their undergraduate years at SFA.”
(Read more from SFASU)

Lee, JT go head-to-head for annual Pantry Raid competition

Students at John Tyler and Robert E. Lee high schools are duking it out to see who can do the most good for their community during the 28th annual Pantry Raid competition.

Every year the schools go head-to-head to see who can collect the most nonperishable food items for the East Texas Food Bank.

Last year, Lee snapped John Tyler’s six-year winning streak, but the students at JT are determined to bring the trophy back home.
(Read more from Tyler Morning Telegraph)

High School Students Compete to Feed Hungry

The 28th annual Pantry Raid competition between Robert E. Lee and John Tyler High School students has kicked off.  The students at both Tyler ISD high schools have a friendly competition each year to help feed hungry East Texans.  Students are asking the community for their help by donating non-perishable food items or funds at the school of their choice. The food and funds the students collect will benefit hungry East Texans who turn to the East Texas Food Bank’s partnering food pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens for help.  The school that collects the most amount of food will earn bragging rights and proudly display the traveling trophy at their school for the year.

“The Pantry Raid is important because it helps feed the less fortunate, and is a good way to get our school involved in the community around us,” said Robert E. Lee Student Council President Maddie Bice.

“Hunger does not discriminate,” said John Tyler Student Council representative Chloe Durham.  “This cause matters to everyone…everywhere.”

Over the last 27 years, students have collected nearly 1,300,000 pounds of food combined, providing over 1,076,00 additional meals to children, families and seniors that the East Texas Food Bank serves.

“The Pantry Raid has become one of the most significant hunger relief efforts in our community,” said Dennis Cullinane, CEO of the East Texas Food Bank.  “We are truly grateful to the students for their incredible energy in producing these impressive food and cash contributions towards the fight against hunger in East Texas.”

Donations of non-perishable canned food items will be accepted at both high schools through Friday, September 7th.  You can also support either school by making a monetary donation online at EastTexasFoodBank.org/pantryraid.  The results will be announced during halftime at the Robert E. Lee and John Tyler football game on Saturday, September 8th.

Please contact the Tyler ISD Office of Communications at 903.262.1064 to make arrangements regarding Pantry Raid.  Media photo and video opportunities will be available on Friday, September   7th prior to 12pm.

Food insecurity in Smith County the focus of new hunger council

Tyler nurse Celeste Fisher grew up eating one meal a day because her family could not afford to buy food.
Her dad usually got the most to eat because he worked a manual labor job and needed the energy.
“It wasn’t until the fifth-grade year that I realized breakfast and lunch were normal parts of the day,” she said. “I got those at school, but in the summer we had supper only.”
(Read more from Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Whataburger partners with East Texas Food Bank for Christmas in July Food Drive

On July 17th, you can receive a free Whataburger if you donate two non-perishable items at any Whataburger location in Bullard, Chandler, Henderson, Kilgore, Lindale, Mineola and Tyler.
This is the first year Whataburger is hosting their Christmas in July Food Drive. They usually host a Fall food drive but saw the need for helping the East Texas Food Bank.
(Read and watch this story from KYTX CBS19)

Summer Backpack Program feeds East Texas children over the weekend

Allison Medrano, 6, sorted through the contents of a zip-close bag with one hand and held her kitten, Jingle Bell, in the other.
The bag contained canned soup, canned vegetables, drinks and snack foods. Allison was most excited about the box of cereal, but said she was saving part of her milk for Jingle Bell.
“We basically spend our summer here now,” said Allison’s grandmother, Felicita Arroyo.
(Read more from Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Summer Food Program kicks off in Tyler offering free meals, activities for children

Seemingly unfazed by the light rain, thunder and dark clouds Tuesday afternoon, over a dozen children participated in the first day of East Texas Food Bank’s Summer Food Program at Emmett J. Scott Park.
Most children had their faces painted and were clenching balloon accessories as they ran between the playground and basketball court. Some even had balloon umbrellas, almost like a subtle peg toward the gloomy weather.
(Read more from Tyler Paper)

East Texas Food Bank Announces Partners in Health Program

Despite increasing the medication and insulin of a patient with diabetes, Dr. Michele Bosworth found the man’s condition was only getting worse.
The patient suffered multiple heart attacks. Soon, both doctor and patient were growing weary of what could be done to improve his condition.
“One day he said to me, ‘Well, Dr. Bosworth, I can only eat what I get from the food bank,” said Bosworth, a family physician and patient safety officer at UT Health North Campus Tyler. “And I thought, wow, it didn’t really matter what I was prescribing to him. He only had the resources available to him that he could get from the food bank.”
(Read more from Tyler Paper)