Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Updated: Tuesday, May 26th  (Haga clic aquí para ver en español)

COVIDUpdate

Quick Links: ETFB Proactive Response   Where To Find Food Assistance   Volunteers

Partner Agencies   General Tips   Support Our Work

ETFB Remains Open

The East Texas Food Bank remains 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.

Proactive Response:

In coordination with Feeding AmericaFeeding 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:

  • 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:

Drive-thru Food Distributions

The East Texas Food Bank is also holding drive-thru food distributions throughout East Texas. ETFB will distribute emergency food boxes and/or fresh items such as produce (pending availability). The distributions are open to any with no restrictions on where you live and your age  to receive food. There is no ID or paperwork required, but verbal declaration of income is required. If you would like to pick up a box for someone else, you must provide a hand-written note from that person with their name, address, permission for you to pick up for them and their signature. You can show the physical note or a picture of it. The details for each city are below:

Tyler

East Texas State Fairgrounds – 2112 W Front St, Tyler, TX 75702

  • Friday, May 29th from 10:00am to 12:00pm * Food Box & Fresh Produce (pending availability)
  • Friday, June 5th from 10:00am to 12:00pm * Fresh Produce
  • Friday, June 12th from 10:00am to 12:00pm * Food Box & Fresh Produce (pending availability)
  • Friday, June 19th from 10:00am to 12:00pm * Fresh Produce
Athens

Community Care in Athens – 1200 E Corsicana St, Athens, TX 75751

  • Tuesday, May 26 from 10 am to 1pm * Food Box
Rusk

The Good Samaritan – 190 W 2nd St, Rusk, TX 75785

  • Wednesday, May 27th from 9:00am to 11:30am * Food Box
Longview

Longview Convention Complex Fairgrounds
Families will need to enter from Cotton Street onto Grand Blvd. and follow the route and traffic control from the Longview Police Department. The distribution is drive-thru only and walkups will not be accepted.

  • Thursday, May 28 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm * Food Box & Fresh Produce (pending availability)
Marshall

Marshall Convention Center
Truck and Volunteer/Staff Entrance will be from HWY 59 onto Civic Center Driveway.
Public Entrance will be on Bell St, coming from Garrett Rd. No public entrance from HWY 59 onto Bell St.

  • Thursday, May 28 from 10:00am to 12:00pm * Food Box & Fresh Produce (pending availability)

Summer Food Program

The Summer Food Program serves children over the summer when they no longer have access to free and reduced meals and snacks that they receive during the school year. Since these programs end when school does, the Summer Food Service Program helps fill the hunger gap ensuring that children and families continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer.

Due to COVID-19, the sites will be drive-thru distributions through June. All sites are open to the public for meal service times. Walks-ups are welcome. Click here for the full list of sites and details.

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.

Volunteers:

Our Volunteer Center shifts are now by appointment only until further notice.  Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator Lauren Alexander by email or call 903.617.2016 to find out availability of volunteering with us during this time.

We have implemented extended sanitation measures, social distancing during volunteer activities, we are not accepting groups of 10 or more and are turning away any volunteers who display any symptoms that they might be sick.

We received clarity from the Texas Governor’s office on the guidelines from the President and CDC to avoid social gathering of more than 10 people and food banks have been deemed as a critical infrastructure industry.

“If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule,” according to the Texas Governor’s Office.  “The food banks are providing a truly valuable service, especially at this time, and we know it takes a force greater than 10 to ensure the food banks function. For these sorts of businesses, the requirement is to do as much work via telework as possible and then to ensure good hygiene and social distancing when workers must be present.”

For the safety of our staff and volunteers, please refrain from volunteering if you answer YES to any of the questions below:

1.     Have you, or anyone you’ve been in contact with, traveled Internationally or been on a cruise ship within the past 14 days?

2.     Are you currently experiencing any possible flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat or respiratory symptoms)?

3.     Have you been in contact with someone with Coronavirus (COVID-19) within the past 14 days?

Visit our volunteer page for more information.

Partner Agencies:

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.

General Tips:

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 now recommends that people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases if in the public.  It is not a requirement. 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.