Making sure no East Texas child goes hungry

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Released by the East Texas Food Bank:

TYLER, TX – The Summer BackPack Program is a collaboration between the East Texas Food Bank and First Choice Power. First Choice Power has provided funding for up to 150 children to receive weekend meals this summer at three Summer Food Service Program sites: Andrews Park in Tyler, Kingdom Harvest Ministries and Cornerstone Church in Lufkin. Every child who attends one of these three Summer Food Service Program sites will receive a Food First™ biodegradable bag filled with healthy food for the weekend. First Choice Power's commitment to the Summer BackPack Program is part of a larger First Choice Power initiative to provide 1 million meals to the needy across Texas in 2010.

"Thanks to this partnership, the East Texas Food Bank will distribute 2,000 bags of nutritious food this summer. Each bag will contain enough child]friendly, easy]to]open food to last a child all weekend," said Dennis Cullinane, executive director of the East Texas Food Bank. "The East Texas Food Bank BackPack Program operates during the school year and this pilot is an extension of that program."

The Food First™ Summer BackPack Program was established by First Choice Power in partnership with Texas food banks and provides low]income children with nutritious meals for the weekend while school is out.

"We are meeting important needs in the communities we serve," said Brian Hayduk, president of First Choice Power. "Texas ranks as one of the worst states when it comes to hunger. To change all that, we're making fighting hunger our No. 1 cause. We're hoping to provide 1 million meals for Texans this year."

The bags will be distributed at the end of the week, where children are served free lunches each weekday during the summer. The bags are filled with easy]to]open items, such as soup, peanut butter, granola bars, fruit, juice and shelf]stable milk. These sites were chosen because of high community need, based on the level of poverty in surrounding neighborhoods, and the commitment of volunteers to the program.

About East Texas Food Bank
The East Texas Food Bank distributes approximately 17 million pounds of food each year to over 200 partner agencies in 26 East Texas counties. Our vision is for a hunger]free East Texas and our mission is to reduce hunger by providing food, support and education to those in need with passion and efficiency. Our purpose is to ensure that no one in East Texas is forced to go without food. The East Texas Food Bank is a member of Feeding America and the Texas Food Bank Network. To learn more, please visit