Longview Resource Center Branch of the East Texas Food Bank to open in October

Longview Resource Center Outside

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

The East Texas Food Bank Announces New Chief Development Officer

Tim Header

The East Texas Food Bank (ETFB) announced today that Tim Butler is the new Chief Development Officer.

Tim joined the East Texas Food Bank in August 2012 as the Volunteer Coordinator, coming from a management position at FRESH by Brookshire’s. He also served as manager in the Child Hunger Programs Department, and became the Chief Impact Officer in 2017.

“I have had the opportunity, with my current role, to work with many of the foundations that award ETFB grants to make sure they are implemented with the best stewardship for what the donor intended,” said Butler. “I look forward to meeting more of the people in our community who help support ETFB so we can continue our strong relationships and partnerships across the region that help us fight hunger in 26 counties in East Texas.”

From an early age, Tim has been involved in missions across the globe with Youth With a Mission (YWAM). He grew up in Lindale and married his high school sweetheart Jannah. He has a strong desire to help people in need, and is grateful to be part of an organization that makes such a big difference in the community.

Tim earned his Bachelor’s in Business Administration from The University of Texas at Tyler.

East Texas Food Bank Recognizes Hunger Hero Award Recipients

  • HH23 Nichols

The East Texas Food Bank (ETFB) honored four recipients today with the fourth annual Hunger Hero Awards as part of Hunger Action Month.

Hunger Hero Awards were given to State Senator Robert Nichols- Senate District 3 (Individual Supporter), Tyler High School and Tyler Legacy High School with Tyler ISD (Community Partner Organization), Datamax Inc. (Corporate Partner) and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Ministry Partner).

“This group of honorees exemplifies the commitment needed in the fight against hunger,” said David Emerson, CEO of the East Texas Food Bank. “Record numbers of East Texans are seeking help to feed their families because of inflation. ETFB gave out 27 million meals to 151,000 households in our past fiscal year.”

Individual Supporter

Texas Senator Robert Nichols with Senate District 3 was instrumental in pushing through food bank priorities. The legislation and funding passed during the 88th Texas legislative session will help alleviate food insecurity across the state.

Community Partner Organization

For 33 years, Tyler ISD’s Tyler High School and Tyler Legacy High School students have participated in their own fundraiser for ETFB’s BackPack program by raising funds and food with the annual Pantry Raid.

Corporate Partner

Datamax Inc. regularly volunteers with ETFB and gives monetary donations. They also make sure their customers know about our programs by giving out information on their voicemail.

Ministry Partner

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided dozens of volunteers during an emergency food drive after the ice storm power outages in Smith County this year. Church members also volunteer every week. In addition, the church donated 42,000 pounds of food to ETFB.

ETFB presented the awards during Feeding America’s Hunger Action Month, held each year in September, to inspire the community to take action and bring attention to hunger in East Texas and the nation.

According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study, 1 in 7 East Texans including 1 in 5 children are hungry. This amounts to 188,530 adults including 63,260 children.

Feeding Texas Network Backs Major Hunger-Fighting Wins During 2023 Legislative Session

With support of the Feeding Texas network of food banks, the Texas Legislature passed several new laws that will prevent hunger for Texans experiencing food insecurity.
“This year’s legislative session was our most successful since Texas food banks came together as a network over 20 years ago to engage state lawmakers in the fight against hunger,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. “We were honored to have overwhelming bipartisan support for these anti-hunger policies. Regardless of political affiliation, we can agree that food should not be an impossible choice.”

“We enjoyed being part of the process this year and taking a team from the East Texas Food Bank to visit with our East Texas legislators in Austin to impact the successful passage of these bills,” said Dennis Cullinane, CEO of the East Texas Food Bank. “The passage of these bills will help more East Texans access the food they need.”

Three bills passed this legislative session along with increased funding for food distribution.
1. Update the SNAP Vehicle Asset Test (HB 1287): Texas uses a vehicle asset test to determine SNAP eligibility, placing limits on the value of the vehicles a household may own and still qualify for the program. HB 1287 makes a one-time inflationary adjustment to the Vehicle Asset Test to better reflect today’s car values, increasing limits from $15,000 to $22,500 for the first car and from $4650 to $8700 for additional vehicles. The bill was authored by Rep. Ryan Guillen and sponsored by Sen. Cesar Blanco.

2. Implementing pre-release SNAP registration (HB 1743): Early access to SNAP benefits ensures formerly incarcerated Texans have immediate resources for food so they can begin rebuilding their lives and reduce recidivism. HB 1743 supports people exiting the criminal justice system by allowing eligible individuals to apply for SNAP before their release so they have access to food upon release. The bill was authored by Rep. Jeff Leach and sponsored by Sen. Royce West.

3. Increasing funds for produce rescue: The Surplus Agricultural Products Grant helps food banks rescue surplus or unsellable produce from Texas farmers for distribution to hungry Texans. One hundred percent of program funds go to farmers and transportation providers to offset the cost of harvesting, storage, packaging and freight. The network achieved a $10.2 million increase in funding for the Surplus Agricultural Products Grant, doubling funds to $20.4 million for the biennium. This is a win-win-win for hungry Texans, farmers, and the environment.

4. Exempting state transportation-related taxes and fees for food banks (HB 3599): State transportation-related fees are significant food bank expenses. HB 3599 will give food banks an exemption from fuel taxes and registration for their fleets, meaning food banks can reinvest those costs into feeding their communities. The bill was authored by Rep. Shawn Thierry and sponsored by Sen. Chuy Hinojosa.

“These legislative victories represent the hard work of many different stakeholders and are responsive to the needs expressed by our communities,” Cole said. “We are grateful to our bill authors, anti-hunger advocates, and all of the organizations that came together to help get these priorities across the finish line. From small, rural communities to major metropolitan areas, these new laws will help feed Texas families and support food banks across the state. While the fight for food security continues, we’re one step closer to a hunger-free Texas.”
Governor Gregg Abbott signed HB 1287, HB 1743, and HB 3599 into law this month. The new laws take effect September 1, 2023.

East Texas Food Bank to Hold Special Distributions This Week To Help East Texans Impacted By Power Outages

The East Texas Food Bank (ETFB) will distribute fresh produce and emergency food boxes at multiple locations in East Texas this week to assist East Texans impacted by the power outages.

Last week’s severe weather storm caused widespread power outages and damage, with several East Texas counties being part of the state’s disaster declaration.

“Many of our neighbors are having to throw away all of their refrigerated food after being without power for days, and with so many people struggling, we knew we needed to help,” said Dennis Cullinane, CEO of the East Texas Food Bank.

The emergency boxes contain shelf-stable food including cans of food and personal hygiene items.

H-E-B Bringing Food to East Texas

H-E-B, based in San Antonio, plans to bring a trailer to East Texas this week loaded with dry goods to help in ETFB’s relief effort.

“We are so grateful that H-E-B is providing us with thousands of meals to help so many East Texans impacted by these storms,” said Cullinane. “We will distribute this food as soon as it comes into our warehouse through our mobile pantries and pantry partners.”

“H-E-B is glad we are able to work with the East Texas Food Bank to help support the communities and neighbors displaced by the storms,” said Danny Flores, H-E-B Public Affairs.

Distribution Locations

Tuesday, June 20, 10-11:30 a.m. at the Gladewater Rodeo Arena- U.S. Hwy 80

Wednesday, June 21, 10-11:30 a.m. in Quitman at the Bud Moody Stadium on Bud Morris Ave.

Wednesday, June 21, 4-5:30 p.m. in Mt. Vernon at Sacred Heart Catholic Church located at 406 Hwy 37

Thursday, June 22, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Avinger at Lake O’ the Pines Baptist Church at 9046 FM 729

Friday, June 23, 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. in Longview at the Gregg County Fairgrounds (Enter from Cotton St.)

The distributions are open to the public while supplies last. No ID or paperwork is required.