Local organization helps feed children - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Local organization helps feed children

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In the summer season, kids being out of school usually means vacation time, summer camps and family fun, but for lower income families it brings a whole new worry because the free or reduced meals provided by a school cafeteria are no longer available.

The East Texas Food Bank is partnering with local organizations to try and ease that burden on families and provide kids with free lunches.

Volunteers like those at Lindale United Methodist Church are partnering with the East Texas Food Bank to make sure there are no hungry kids in East Texas this summer.

"We were talking about ways to impact our community besides just inviting people to church. We got to talking about how many kids are on assisted lunch programs and someone asked what happens to them in the summer, and we said we didn't know," Pastor Wayne Flowers said.

That one meeting pushed the church into action. They did a little research and found out that
within a one mile radius of their church, more than 60 to 80 percent of people were living below the poverty line.

"I know when we saw the numbers of kids that were on free or reduced lunches, we were just shocked," Pastor Flowers said. "We then contacted the East Texas Food Bank and they got in touch with us right away and in a matter of two weeks we had this program set up."

The East Texas Food Bank provides more than 60 food sites like this in 13 East Texas counties.

Karolyn Davis, communications director for the food bank, says this is all about helping out kids in need throughout the summer.

"We really look at areas that have a high need of kids needing food during the summer
months, because typically these are kids needing free or reduced lunches during the school year, but don't have access during the Summer," Davis said. 

The food bank provides all the food for the sites, and Davis said this year they want to top the number of lunches they provided last summer.

"Last summer we provided 140,000 meals and this summer we want to provide 160,000 or more," Davis said.

Pastor Flowers said for his church is about taking that extra step and not just meeting peoples spiritual needs, but all their needs.

"We want people to know that as a church we care about all of their needs. We try and do that in a lot of different ways here at the church," Pastor Flowers said.

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