As the week of Thanksgiving begins, the East Texas Food Bank is providing opportunities for those in need to get fresh produce safely ahead of the holiday.
Beginning Monday in Tyler, Green Acres Baptist Church will host a drive-thru, contactless, free produce distribution from 10 a.m. to noon. On the following day, distributions will be held in Longview and Lufkin.
All three of these distributions are on a first-come, first-served basis and require no paperwork or eligibility guidelines.
East Texas Food Bank Communications and Marketing Director Lauren Barnes said due to COVID-19, the typical farmers market-style distributions are becoming drive-thrus.
She said these extra produce items will be a key factor for families’ nutrition.
“At each of these distributions, we’re expecting about 1,000 families,” she said. “So just within those two hours it’ll have a really large impact.”
Michael Gossett, GABC teaching pastor, said the church is happy to provide food to those in need during the holiday season.
“In this season of Thanksgiving, we are grateful to share more than groceries — this is an opportunity to share hope with those who are hurting,” Gossett said. “It is a reminder that we are all in this together and that Green Acres is in their corner.”
Barnes noted the food bank is grateful to Green Acres for hosting the distribution. The drive-thru was originally set for the East Texas State Fairgrounds, but the location didn’t work this time due to a scheduling conflict.
The food bank serve 26 counties and Tyler, Longview and Lufkin were determined to be high-need areas and cities central to the rural spots of East Texas, Barnes said.
For those wanting to help the food bank, volunteers and monetary donations are always welcome, she said.
“We invite anyone in the community to get involved with us,” Barnes said. “For every $1 donated that can help provide up to eight meals.”
She also encouraged people to share the mission of the food bank with others.
According to most recent statistics, one in five East Texans, including one in three children in East Texas, experience hunger.
Just within this Monday through Friday, the food bank served over half a million meals.
For those who can’t attend these upcoming distributions, people can visit easttexasfoodbank.org and use the “find food” button to find pantries, soup kitchens and feeding programs across 26 counties.
The distribution in Longview will be at the Gregg County Fairgrounds from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, while the Lufkin event will be at George H. Henderson Exposition Center Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon.