The East Texas Food Bank is on a mission to combat hunger and increase access to vital resources for those in need.
In a significant step towards achieving this goal, the organization is set to open its second resource center in south Longview next month.
East Texas Food Bank’s New Resource Center in Longview
This expansion is part of the food bank’s strategic plan to extend its programs and provide sustenance to more individuals and families in the region.
The new resource center is strategically located to serve several high-need neighborhoods, where approximately 28% of residents, nearly 20,000 people, currently live below the federal poverty line, according to the East Texas Food Bank (ETFB).
David Emerson, CEO of the East Texas Food Bank, shared his insights about the upcoming facility, stating, “They can come in, and they have a choice, as to what they can buy. We’re always going to have produce available to them, meat available to them, so high protein items.”
In addition to providing essential food assistance, the center will offer other aid forms to those in need. Emerson elaborated, “We’ll have someone here suggesting rental assistance, legal aid, medical screenings, those types of things.”
What sets this center apart is its extended operating hours, including evenings and weekends, ensuring more people can access the support they require.
The East Texas Food Bank is dedicated to addressing hunger issues and eliminating barriers in Gregg County. Emerson added, “We estimate that ETFB will provide 936,000 meals annually at the Longview location.”
Feeding America’s study reveals that approximately 15% of Gregg County residents face food insecurity and the risk of hunger, including nearly 22% of children. These statistics underscore the critical need for accessible food assistance programs.
Tabitha Johnson, Longview Resource Center Branch Manager, emphasized the importance of the new center, especially in light of rising food costs and living expenses. “With the current high food costs and living expenses, many families are struggling to make ends meet, and some people are seeking food assistance for the first time,” said Johnson.
“Unfortunately, many East Texans have little or no access to fresh produce and other healthy food options. We hope they will take that first step in coming to our pantry so we can help them with their food needs.”
SNAP Assistance, Medical Screenings, and More
The Longview Resource Center is designed to provide residents a wide range of services. These include assistance with applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), medical screenings offered through healthcare providers, and various other social services.
A notable feature of the center is the inclusion of a Healthy Food Pantry, which will distribute nutritious food using a client-choice distribution model.
Tim Butler, Chief Development Officer, explained, “The food pantry is meant to serve households at or below the emergency food income guidelines. For example, a family of four would qualify to receive food if they make less than $55,500 per year. Other people who qualify to receive assistance are those experiencing a crisis such as a house fire, tornado, or extreme medical bills.”
The Longview Center is scheduled to be open four days a week, including evenings and Saturday mornings.
This expansion represents a significant step forward in the East Texas Food Bank’s commitment to supporting its community by addressing hunger and enhancing access to essential resources.