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Faces of Hunger

These stories put a "face to hunger", to show how anyone can be affected.  The East Texas Food Bank is committed to addressing these hunger issues and needs of East Texans. 

Cheryl I’m Cheryl, and my husband Gilbert and I are grateful to come to this food pantry for help. We’re raising three teenage grandkids and we count on this food to help us have enough. It’s hard to go back to raising kids, but we’re pulling our resources together to take care of them.

We moved out here a couple of years ago when the civil service office at the naval base closed down and my husband lost his job. Once that happened, we couldn’t afford to live in that area, so he retired and we came out here. He’s a Vietnam vet, and we were able to get a small house through a VA loan.  

When we got here, I found out that I had cancer and I haven’t been able to work. Making ends meet on our retirement income is our biggest challenge. Our grocery bill is really high, and by the end of the month, our pantry is pretty empty. When we come to the food distribution, we’re excited to get everything they give us. Nothing goes to waste in our house!

I took a Cooking Matters class through East Texas Food Bank and that was really helpful. It taught me to cook differently, using less sodium to prepare healthy meals. They taught us how to grocery shop within our parameters. The whole class really made a big difference for me. To the people who support the East Texas Food Bank, God bless you for what you do. Thank you for your gift of generosity. Without you, a lot of us would go hungry. When you realize you don’t have anything for your next meal and your grandchildren are tired of eating rice and beans, getting a basket of food means so much.  Read more in our Servings Newsletter.
April Hello. My name is April. I come to this food pantry every couple of months to get some bags of food for my family. I’m feeding five teenagers, so this helps out a lot! This church also gives out shoes for kids once a year, so I get to pick those up today as well.

I have two teenagers of my own and three more who live at my house. One of them goes to the same school as my son. He stays with me during the week because his father works and can’t get him to and from school. The boys also play football. With so many kids in the house, the food helps us a great deal!

About seven years ago, I had autoimmune liver failure. It was a rare case where my body just attacked my liver. I was given 48 hours to live, but thanks to the good Lord, I survived. I keep a smile on my face because I know God left me here.

My biggest challenge is keeping enough food in the house. I cook every day for the kids and they demolish it. They particularly like hamburgers and spaghetti, but there really isn’t much they don’t like. They’re athletes, so they eat a lot!

I really want to say thank you to everyone who helps provide this food. For people in my situation, it means so much. Every little bit helps us get by. Thank you for pitching in and helping my family.
Sheila I’m Sheila and I come to the food pantry every month because we need food to survive.  My husband died recently and now it’s just me and the children.  I have two girls still at home, ages 11 and 14.  I get some social security for my kids now, which helps pay our rent and bills like our car insurance, but it doesn’t cover everything.  
I have a part-time job, but that doesn’t pay a lot. I mostly buy meat at the store for my kids—food is expensive.  The food from the pantry helps make up the difference and I’m thankful it’s here to help.  

Trying to get ourselves back together after the loss of their father has been hard on all of us.  I have to keep the girls focused, eating right and going to school. And I’m trying to keep myself on a road where I can take care of our family.

Knowing the food pantry is here is a good feeling. Having nothing to eat is hard and it makes you sad.  There have been many times I’ve gone hungry so my kids can eat.  Coming here, I know I can get food for us that will last a few days. They give us a lot of vegetables and the kids like the fruit.  I fix the rice and beans and other foods into a meal.

I really want to say thank you to the people who support the East Texas Food Bank because you’re helping our family when we need help.  Coming to the food pantry, I know we’ll be taken care of. A few days of food can make a world of difference in a family’s life. It’s the difference between having food and going without. So I really appreciate it. Thank you.
VictoriaHello, my name is Victoria and today is the first time I've ever come to this food pantry.  I cam with my two-month-old baby.  I have two other children at home, so we have a full house.  I'm thankful to be here because we really need food today.
My husband and I have lived here about four years.  We live in a trailer about 10 minutes from the food pantry,  He has a job installing electrical cables outside.  Usually he has enough work.  But when the weather gets bad, he can't work.  I haven't been able to work recently because of having the baby, and I also take care of our two older children.
Recently, it's bee hard to pay our rent and utility bills.  We haven't had enough money to buy food either.  My friend told me about the food pantry and invited me here.  So I came, and I'm glad I did!  She told me that the pantry gives good food to people who need it.
I would like to say thank you for giving us an opportunity to have food in our house.  We really need it now, so this will help us be able to feed our children.  I hope God blesses you so you can continue to help people who need it.
PaulaMy name is Paula, and I come down to HOPE, Inc. to get my noon meal.  I love the food, it's really good and healthy for me.  I don't really eat other regular meals, so this is my main meal.  They give me everything I need for a healthy meal.  I also really love the people here.  They are so welcoming, and I've gotten to know a lot of the others who come for lunch here, so that's nice.
I used to work as a certified nurse's aide taking care of seniors who needed help.  Then I wen to work as a janitor.  But for the last couple years I've been physically unable to work, and I've had a hard time stretching my money to pay my bills and still have food to eat during the week.  That's really my biggest challenge, trying to stretch the money for what I need.
I know I'm not the only one around here who has it rough.  It's hard to find affordable housing, and I know there are a lot of other people in the community who are in need of food.  That's why I'm so thankful to the people who support the East Texas Food Bank, and to the people who prepare the food here at HOPE.  Every dollar helps, thank you!
Charlene RR Newsletter Holiday 2014My name is Charlene, and I really appreciate everything the East Texas Food Bank does to help me feed my family.  I have four children - three boys and my daughter.  My boys have been part of the BackPack Program at school, and during the summer we get them lunch at the Summer Food Program sites.  It's just nice to know that there are places like this that help when things happen and we need to eat.

I'm not working right now because it got too hard for my mom to watch my children when she was working nights.  Now she helps out when she can.  Recently my car broke down, and that makes it harder to get food, too.

Money is really my biggest challenge right now.  I've had nice things and I've had nothing at all, and I hate to put so much emphasis on money.  But in reality you must have money to survive.  I try to keep the children happy and involved in their extracurricular activies so they don't really have to see the struggle.  They're happy kids, so I'm doing my job!

The East Texas Food Bank and its programs really do help.  It's comforting to know that there are people out here who help.  People who volunteer, and people who donate and put their time and energy into helping others.  I know I'll be back to volunteer again.

To those who support the East Texas Food Bank, I don't know what else to say but thank you!  You help me feed my children.  Thank you for the time, the money, the food - everything you give.  And for your spirit to help others.  It's amazing!
Cory RR Newsletter Holiday 2014Hi, I'm Cory and I come by the Longview Community Ministries food pantry because I'm not getting enough hours at my job.  I work at the car wash, and when it's raining, we aren't able to open up.  Whn you've got a 40-hour-a-week job, but only get to work 22 hours a week, and you still have the same bills and responsibilities, it makes it tough.

I have six children.  It's just me and the kids, because my wife died in a car accident several years ago.  My oldest daughter is starting college.  The hardest thing for me is just trying to meet everybody's needs.  You can't constantly be saying no to the kids all the time.  You've got to give them something to look forward to, and let them know you love them.  So that's tough, not being able to give them much.

Fortunatly, they've never had to go hungry.  It may not be what they want, but there's always a pot of beans on the storve.  I'm not sure we'd always have enough to eat if it wasn't for the food pantry.  When things are really tight, it makes the difference.

During the holidays, getting the food is even more crucial.  Especially when you're trying to give the kids a little Christmas.  They want so many things they see on TV, but with work the way itis, that's just not feasible.  So it's good to have a place like this to come to and have a little peace of mind about the situation.

The community would be at such a loss if the East Texas Food Bank wasn't here.  They help so many people and do so much for the community.  And I'm very appreciative of everything they do for my family as well.
Carmen RR Newsletter Summer 2013"I have to tell you how thankful I am for the East Texas Food Bank and our community food pantry - they provide food for my husband, my three children and me.  My name is Carmen and I've only been coming here for a few months, but each time it puts a smile on my face.  I appreciate coming here.  We might come in sad, but we always leave smiling.  I'm not working right now, so life has been hard.  My husband works, but it's difficult to keep getting enough work to help us survive as a family."

Read more about Carmen in our latest Servings Newsletter 
Melissa RR Newsletter Summer 2012"My name is Melissa.  I am grateful to the East Texas Food Bank and the Dorcas House, where I'm able to come for food I'd never be able to afford.  I have a wonderful family, but it pains me not to be able to take better care of them.  My husband works and he gets paid tomorrow - but we need food today.  Without the help of someone like you, I don't know what I would do.  And it's not just food: it's good, nutritious food that allows me to make balanced meals - something I'd never be able to do if I had to buy these ingredients at the market.  My entire family thanks you for your kindness."

Read more about Melissa in our Servings Newsletter 
Dominic Capetillo"My name is Dominic. I’m smiling for two reasons today: because I love my children, and I love the food we receive from the East Texas Food Bank. My two daughters are always hungry, and I need all the help I can get to keep food on the table.  My children are so happy when we get in the car to come get the nutritious food you help provide. I’m doing everything I can to raise my kids with good values, and want them to do well in school. That's my main objective."

Read more about Domininc in our Servings Newsletter 
"My name is Ryan, and I like coming to the park during the summer with my brother Michael.  We always get a good meal when we come, because sometimes we don't have enough food at home. "
"My name is Barbara, and I'm a 57 year-old widowed retiree.  I've worked in the admissions office at a college, a substitute teacher, and as a cleark in a law firm.  However, now I suffer from severe osteoarthritis and my only income is the disability I get each month.  I knew about the Salvation Army in Tyler, because I have donated and volunteered before.  I am not ashamed.  These services are not for uneducated, drug users, or abusive alcoholics; this is for people that have been dealth a hand of cards that they cannot trade.  We have to keep living." 

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