William Bishop, who was born totally blind, loves being able to help those in need at the East Texas Food Bank.
Bishop, of Tyler, was one of several volunteers from the East Lighthouse for the Blind helping Monday at the food bank. The East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind sent roughly 25 staff volunteers Monday and Tuesday mornings to assist in the preparation of holiday meals.
“This is very, very special for me to be able to do,” Bishop said. “It means the world to me to be able to help. I’m just thankful I could help someone.”
The Lighthouse is a nonprofit that works to serve the needs of blind and visually impaired people through rehabilitation, education, training and employment.
Lighthouse volunteers, based on their level of visual impairment, worked at the food bank on Monday either relabeling green bean cans or repackaging pinto beans into family-size servings.
Lauren Barnes, East Texas Food Bank communications and marketing director, said the nonprofit organization recently expanded by adding a larger volunteer space.
“Now, we have a dedicated space for our volunteers no matter what their abilities are,” Barnes said.
Volunteer Sharon Higgins of Tyler called her experience at the food bank fun and something she loves doing. She has vision in only one eye.
“I’m doing what I do best helping people,” Higgins said. “I love helping people; it’s a good experience for me.
Nick Owen of Jacksonville works for the Lighthouse for the Blind and enjoys giving back to the community.
“I enjoy volunteering and helping the community out for a good cause. It gives the community an opportunity to come out,” Owen said. “It’s amazing to see what they (visually impaired individuals) do on a day-to-day basis.”
Barnes said people are wanting to do some good, especially during the holiday season. She noted the critical importance of having volunteers fight hunger across the 26 counties served by East Texas Food Bank.
“We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers,” she said. “Volunteers are really the backbone that helps us fill that hunger gap in East Texas.”
Volunteer shifts are available in the morning, midafternoon and evening for both individuals and groups. Those interested can visit the food bank’s website at https://www.easttexasfoodbank.org or call volunteer coordinator Lauren Alexander at 903-597-3663.