Food benefits arriving early; East Texas food pantries preparing to supplement recipients

An emotional roller coaster happened for millions of food stamp recipients Monday morning.
They were first told at the end of last week to expect no February benefits due to the government shutdown.
Before noon Monday, an advisory said the benefits will be available by the end of the week.
Recipients are advised to plan carefully when shopping.
The HOPE Food Pantry in Nacogdoches may help. It serves food benefit recipients on a monthly basis. HOPE stands for Helping Other People Eat.
(Read more and watch this story from KTRE)

Local food banks could be impacted by government shutdown

If the government shutdown continues, millions of low-income families who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, could have a harder time buying food; that includes, people in East Texas.

“The SNAP program is funded and running it’s funded through January, there’s about $3 billion worth of reserves left,” East Texas Food Bank CEO Dennis Cullinane said.
(Read more from KLTV 7)

The legacy of volunteerism left by George H.W. Bush

“I’ve spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the nation doing good,” said President George H.W. Bush in his 1989 Inaugural Speech.

One point of light in East Texas, Davonte Kemp, a volunteer at The East Texas Food Bank.
(Read more from KETK)

SFA wraps up fourth annual Cooking Matters program

Stephen F. Austin State University students in the School of Human Sciences wrapped up their fourth annual Cooking Matters program with a graduation ceremony and game night.

During this six-week collaborative course with the East Texas Food Bank, SFA students worked with community members to educate them on healthy eating habits and budgeting.
(Read more from SFASU)

Asian vegetables grown during trial at local Texas A&M AgriLife facility donated to East Texas Food Bank

The future of local farmers markets and produce sections could include a lot more bok choy, red mustard greens and other Asian vegetables.

Last month it was announced that the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service have teamed up for a yearlong trial to examine the feasibility and possible benefits of growing Asian vegetables in Texas. The trial is being held at four AgriLife facilities across the state.
(Read more from Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Annual Charlie Brown Thanksgiving benefits East Texas Food Bank

It’s time for the ninth annual “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” benefiting the East Texas Food Bank.  The event will take place at Bergfeld Park Amphitheatre in Tyler, on Friday, November 9th at 5:30 pm.  The public is asked to bring plastic jars of peanut butter to donate to the East Texas Food Bank.  A special presentation of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will begin at 6:00pm
(Read More)

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)

Hundreds of students give back during Tyler high school’s ‘Community Service Day’

Hundreds of students from Grace Community High School spent Thursday packing lunches, cleaning yards, and fulfilling a variety of other needs as part of the school’s yearly Community Service Day.

Every year, Grace students are divided into groups and sent to help nonprofits in whatever means possible.

“I see there are lots of needs that need to be met in our community,” said Sarabeth Wallace, junior and Lifegroup leader at GCHS. “It just feels good to be part of something that’s so important and is such a need here in Tyler.”
(Read more from KLTV 7)

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)