Hunger Action Week: Following the food bank's food home -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Hunger Action Week: Following the food bank's food home

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Some of the food that winds up at the East Texas Food Bank is donated by good-hearted East Texans, but the majority of it is not.

In fact, the East Texas Food Bank must purchase most of the food that they supply to local food pantries.

It takes dozens of people to get just one food item to a family who needs it.

The food bank truck that arrived at their warehouse on the morning of September 4 was carrying tons-- more than 9,000 pounds-- of pinto beans.

Food, like those beans, comes to the warehouse when over production allows the food bank to buy food in bulk at a low price.

"We really try to avoid paying the retail price," says East Texas Food Bank Executive Director Dennis Cullinane.

The beans are unloaded and brought to the repacking room where volunteers break into the bag. The volunteers scoop beans into smaller two pound bags that are weighed, sealed, labeled and packed away. Temporarily, the beans are boxed and stored in the food bank warehouse until a food pantry comes calling.

"They're put in our inventory so our agencies can actually see what's available. They can go online and reserve them and pick them up at their designated time," Cullinane says.

Cullinane says everything organized on a pallet in their warehouse, which is a large majority of their food, is purchased.

"We buy more food than we have donated. That's just the reality," says Cullinane.

When a food pantry shows up needing food, the popular pinto beans are on the move again. One box ends up at the food pantry at St. Paul Children's foundation in northeast Tyler.

There, 18-year-old Ofelia Mendoza, her mother, sisters and nieces are in need of groceries.

"In my house, my dad is the only one who works and he gets, like, $400 a week, and we have to pay the bills and everything," says Ofelia.

The beans from the box make it to the food pantry shelf. East Texans are already requesting them on their grocery lists.
"They don't hardly expire and you get plenty of it. The beans and rice... that'll stick to the ribs," says Neetra Dossman.

Neetra is picking up groceries for her family of nine, including seven children.

"I don't let my pride get in the way. If I need it, I come. You know, because I'm recently laid off. It's a wonderful thing that they've got this around here in East Texas, but I look at the kids. It's not just about mama not feeling good; I've got to get up and make it happen for my little people because they are my people," says Neetra.

A bag of pinto beans ends up in Ofelia's family's grocery box. Then, they're on their way home to make dinner and feed a family with help from the East Texas Food Bank.

Thursday you can help KLTV support the East Texas Food Bank by donating food of your own to East Texans in need. Our goal is to fill an 18-wheeler with food donations.

Donation locations are:

  • Brookshire's on Rice Road in Tyler
  • Brookshire's on Gilmer Road in Longview
  • Christian Information Service Center on Angelina Street in Lufkin.

If you'd prefer to make a monetary donation, click here.

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