National Hunger Awareness Day Turns to East Texas Children

In Texas, one in five children go to bed hungry every night.  That translates into thousands of East Texas children. With that in mind, the east Texas food bank and Brookshires came together Thursday to bring attention to National Hunger Awareness day. They did it by kicking off the "Check-out Hunger" program.

"As you check out, you can tear off a small coupon and this is for a dollar and they will scan it and add to your bill one dollar," says Barbara Anderson, Executive Director, East Texas Food Bank. "And with that we can buy so many meals and the necessary food that is needed for the children in the summer."

The Food Bank says summer donations are important because kids who normally get a free breakfast and lunch at school, don't anymore.  This puts an extra financial burden on some families who need to be able to turn to one of the food bank's agencies.

The kids cafe at the Tyler First United Methodist Church is one of those places that keeps kids fed. Food for the mind and body, children at Tyler First United Methodist Church were getting a double serving Thursday.

Cynthia Lee's two twins rely on the Kids Cafe during the school year and summer.

"It's just been great," says Cynthia Lee, a mother.

The free meals have not only helped her pocketbook, but they've also eased her mind.

"Kind of juggling working and schedules," says Lee. "It's just a place they can come and be safe. They will be able to eat."

The cafe and the East Texas Food Bank which provides them food are close to Cynthia's heart. She's also a volunteer.

"I don't know what we would do with out them, because otherwise a lot of children would go home hungry and without what they need to help them grow their minds and bodies," says Lee.

"We try to introduce food constantly that they would not be able to have alone," says Pastor Clara Gilbert.

Pastor Clara Gilbert sees the positive influence the cafe has on the kids daily, whether they're learning smart food choices like today or getting that nutritious dinner they can count on.

"What we try to make sure is let the parents know we are feeding a healthy meal here and it's going to be provided for their children," says Pastor Gilbert.

During the school year the kids don't just get food for their brain, they also get a place to do their homework and the help they need to do so at the Kids Cafe.

Dana Dixon Reporting.