Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Updated: Tuesday, January 12th
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:
- All visitors and staff are required to wear a mask or face covering, sanitize their hands and fill out a health questionnaire upon entry into the building.
- 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
- Review Pandemic Plans
- Begin daily departmental briefings for communication updates and planning
- 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
- Not accepting groups larger than 10
- 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 the East Texas State Fairgrounds 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.
- Friday, February 5th – 10:00am to 12:00pm – East Texas State Fairgrounds
- Friday, March 19th – 10:00am to 12:00pm – East Texas State Fairgrounds
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, February 12th – 8:00am to 10:00am – Gregg County Fairgrounds
- Friday, March 12th – 8:00am to 10:00am – Gregg County Fairgrounds
- Friday, April 9th – 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, January 26th – 10:00am to 12:00pm – George H Henderson Expo Center
- Tuesday, February 23rd – 10:00am to 12:00pm – George H Henderson Expo Center
- Tuesday, April 6th – 10:00am to 12:00pm – George H Henderson Expo Center
- Tuesday, April 27th – 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.
For social distancing, we are asking clients to have only 1 representative from each household receive food from a partner agency to decrease the number of people and interactions. If possible, other family members should wait in their cars or outside away from others.
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 your volunteer shift time. Volunteers will be temperature screened, sign a health questionnaire and required to wear a mask for their volunteer service time. Click here for more information about volunteering with us.
We are recommending that partner agencies implement similar sanitation procedures similar to ours. Please visit this link from the CDC for specific recommendations.
It is incredibly important to continue emergency food service distribution during this time. Clinics are currently asking infected patients to self-quarantine for 14 days, which is a near impossibility for food-insecure individuals and families. Emergency food resources must be made available to these families in order for the self-quarantine to be a realistic expectation.
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. People at higher risk for serious complications are those with underlying health conditions and people over the age of 65. 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 your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
The CDC also recommends that people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases if in the public. If you are experiencing fever, cough or difficulty breathing, have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, contact your healthcare provider.
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 this 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.