Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Updated: Monday, September 30th, 2021
ETFB Is Open
The East Texas Food Bank is open and ready to serve. ETFB operates under the authority of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is an agency of the State of Texas and charged with primary responsibility for the delivery of health and human services to the people of Texas. These services and the staff who support them are essential to the State’s response to the COVID-19 disaster.
In coordination with Feeding America, Feeding Texas, and NETHealth, the East Texas Food Bank is actively monitoring developments related to COVID-19 (coronavirus). We are taking proactive measures to protect the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers and clients as we continue to serve our community.
Here are some proactive measures the East Texas Food Bank is taking:
- The health and safety of the families we serve, staff, volunteers and visitors is a top priority for the East Texas Food Bank. In response to the rapid surge in COVID cases due to the Delta Variant, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has amended its masks guidelines. As frontline employees serving the critical needs of our community, all employees, vendors, volunteers and visitors to all East Texas Food Bank locations and program sites are still required to follow our COVID protocol; wearing masks, social distancing, handwashing and completing a COVID-19 questionnaire.
Masks are required for everyone, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, and at all ETFB locations, whether indoor or outdoor.
- In addition to our year-round daily cleaning measures, every 2 hours, sanitizing common surface areas including door hardware, tables, seats, etc.
- Communicate online and to our partners the precautions to avoid spreading COVID-19.
- Continue to monitor developments with Feeding America, Feeding Texas and NETHealth.
- Communicate to volunteers and staff to stay home if sick.
- Enforce year-round Volunteer Center policies, such as:
- Volunteers wear nitrite gloves during repackaging activities
- Enforce hand-washing procedures at clock-in, breaks and clock-out
- Actively reject any volunteers who demonstrate flu-like symptoms
- Implementing social distancing during volunteer activities
- For the full list of volunteer guidelines, click here.
Where to Find Food Assistance:
Fresh Produce Distributions
The East Texas Food Bank is distributing fresh produce at Lindsey Park in Tyler. The events will give free produce and fresh items, pending availability, on a first-come, first-serve basis. These are drive-thru distributions. There are no eligibility or ID requirements to receive the items. Entrance to the distribution will be from Spur 364. Cars will exit the distribution onto Greenbriar Rd/FM 164. (click here to see a map)
- Friday, October 1st – 10:00am to 12:00pm – Lindsey Park
- Friday, October 15th – 10:00am to 12:00pm – Lindsey Park
- Friday, November 5th – 10:00am to 12:00pm – Lindsey Park
- Friday, November 19th – 10:00am to 12:00pm – Lindsey Park
Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler will also be holding distributions monthly thru December at their location at 1607 Troup Highway. No ID or paperwork is needed to receive food items while supplies last.
- Saturday, October 23rd – 10:00am to 12:00pm – Lindsey Park
- Monday, November 22nd – 10:00am to 12:00pm – Lindsey Park
- Monday. December 20th – 10:00am to 12:00pm – Lindsey Park
The East Texas Food Bank and Longview Rotary will hold produce distributions at the Gregg County Fairgrounds on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of each month in Longview. The events will give free produce and fresh items, pending availability, on a first-come, first-serve basis. These are drive-thru distributions. There are no eligibility or ID requirements to receive the items. . Participants are asked to enter on 300 West Cotton.
- Friday. October 8th – 8:00am to 10:00am – Gregg County Fairgrounds
- Friday, November 12th – 8:00am to 10:00am – Gregg County Fairgrounds
- Friday, December 10th – 8:00am to 10:00am – Gregg County Fairgrounds
The East Texas Food Bank will hold produce distributions at the George H Henderson Expo Center on the last Tuesday of each month in Lufkin. The events will give free produce and fresh items, pending availability, on a first-come, first-serve basis. These are drive-thru distributions. There are no eligibility or ID requirements to receive the items. Participants are asked to enter the Expo Center via Highway 69 westbound. After receiving produce, they will exit onto Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
- Tuesday, September 28th – 10:00am to 12:00pm – George H Henderson Expo Center
- Tuesday, October 26th – 10:00am to 12:00pm – George H Henderson Expo Center
- Tuesday, November 30th – 10:00am to 12:00pm – George H Henderson Expo Center
- Tuesday, December 28th – 10:00am to 12:00pm – George H Henderson Expo Center
Find A Partner Agency
If you need food assistance, visit www.EastTexasFoodBank.org and click “Find Food” at the top. An interactive map will show our partners, their operating hours and contact information. In the event of any changes in our partners’ operating hours, we will update the information there.
Our Volunteer Center is now open with shifts for volunteers and community service available. All volunteers 16 years of age or older will be required to register and select volunteer shift times. For the safety of our volunteers, staff and families we serve, our volunteers are required to wear masks and complete a brief screener questionnaire at our Volunteer Center and program sites. We will continue monitoring local cases and guidance from Feeding America, the CDC and local health authorities as we update our policies.
We are recommending that partner agencies implement similar sanitation procedures similar to ours. Please visit this link from the CDC for specific recommendations.
We are asking partners to inform us beforehand if they intend on adjusting or cancelling their food distribution times/dates. This will give us a chance to communicate and help them implement potential changes to their pantry distributions that allow for less opportunity for infection to spread. There is not a “one size fits all” solution to every partner or distribution. There are, however, certain strategies to execute that could continue to meet the needs of our 1 in 5 neighbors facing hunger.
The following information was provided by NETHealth:
Human coronaviruses are most commonly spread through respiratory droplets. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath Residents are reminded to take the same measures that are recommended annually to prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory viruses. These include:
- Wash hands often for 20 seconds and encourage others to do the same. If no soap or water is available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, knobs, and other places touched often.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
The CDC has provided guidelines on how to protect yourself available here.
Support our work
If you would like to support the East Texas Food Bank during this time, you can contribute your time by volunteering or by donating financially. We need the whole communities support as we proactively prepare so that our children, families and seniors in need receive food regardless of whatever may come our way. Click here to help now.
We will continue to keep our community updated through our website, the media and social media channels should any developments or changes occur in our operations or those of our partners. This is a rapidly changing situation and we thank you for your patience and support in our mission to fight hunger and feed hope for the 1 in 5 East Texans facing hunger during this pandemic- and year round.