Did you know that approximately 12,000 households receive food each month from member agencies of the Southeast Texas Food Bank? Additionally, our partner agencies preparing meals provide approximately 90,000 meals to people in need each month. In the State of Texas, 1 in every 4 children lives in poverty and about 15% of the elderly in Southeast Texas live in poverty. With numbers so high, it is our duty to do something to fight against the crippling effects of chronic hunger. Our vision is to eliminate hunger and inadequate nutrition in Southeast Texas. The following programs have been established to do just that. With your help we can continue to provide these programs to your friends and neighbors in the Southeast Texas region.
The Southeast Texas Food Bank BackPack Program provides sacks of kid-friendly, healthy meals to some of the neediest children in the rural areas of Southeast Texas. We are located in six counties – Hardin, Jasper, Sabine, Tyler, Polk and Newton – and deliver to 30 schools to serve over 1,200 children. The supplemental food that these children receive each week may help offset or reverse some of the developmental delays caused by even mild malnutrition that is associated with poverty.
The Mobile Pantry Program is a direct service to reach those who are struggling to access the help they need. With this program the Food Bank brings the pantry to the neighborhood. We partner with an agency or organization that wants to help, but does not have the ability to operate a regular pantry. This innovative program has improved nutrition in rural areas where fresh produce and basic food items are often hard to come by.
Nutrition Education Classes
The Southeast Texas Food Bank has teamed up with the Lamar University Dietetic Internship to offer child nutrition education classes to schools in some of our most rural counties. In the class, the intern makes a presentation during the PE classes. The fun, interactive presentation includes useful information for kids on healthy eating, games and prizes, and sometimes even a healthy snack! Apples and peanut butter are always a hit.
Retail Store Pickup Program
The Retail Store Donation Program is a strategic initiative that enables the Southeast Texas Food Bank to increase our emergency food distribution by collecting food from participating grocers that would otherwise be thrown away. Because of strict guidelines, stores often need to discard items even though they are nutritious and completely safe to eat. These goods are then distributed to our agencies in our eight-county wide service area. The Southeast Texas Food Bank works with participating stores to procure these otherwise expensive and difficult to obtain items such as meat, dairy, produce and baked goods— enabling low-income residents throughout Southeast Texas to prepare well-balanced nutritious meals for themselves and their families. The program also exemplifies green business practices by redistributing fresh products that would unnecessarily become waste. Approximately one million pounds of high quality, nutritious food that might otherwise be discarded is rescued each year and delivered to where it’s needed most. The Southeast Texas Food Bank follows all necessary food safety guidelines, transports product via our fleet of refrigerated trucks and inspects donated product at pick-up and distribution points.
Our School Tools program provides school supplies to 30 elementary schools in Southeast Texas that have a large percentage of low-income students. Our free store allows teachers at those schools to access the supplies once a month during the school year. The teachers in turn distribute the supplies to the children whose families cannot provide them. This program helps keep low-income children motivated in the learning environment and excited about classroom activities. Not having adequate supplies can embarrass children and set them on a course of a dislike of school. Our goal is to ensure these children have the tools they need to succeed early in the educational process.
Texas Second Chance
Texas Second Chance is a partnership between the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Texas Food Banks. The program is designed to give inmates a “second chance” to be a productive member of our community. Inmates from the Larry Gist State Jail volunteer at the Food Bank Monday through Friday, working in all areas of our distribution operations.