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Freezing Out Hunger

All eyes are on East Texas as we "freeze out hunger" in our communities. The East Texas Food Bank in Tyler is set to open a new $3- million food bank freezer August 3rd. It's the largest in Texas.

In the past, the food bank has had to turn away donated food for lack of cold storage space. The original freezer held only 9 truckloads. This new freezer has an 83 truckload capacity, translating into 3- million pounds of food.

"We feed 10's of 1000's of families each month. We distribute about 12.5 million pounds of food right now and we're on target with this new facility to grow upwards of 14 or 15 million once we can get the food into our warehouses," says Robert Bush, Executive Director of the East Texas Food Bank.

It has taken a couple years of hard work and fundraising to make this freezer a reality. Bush says it was a community effort. "It says there is a deep commitment to solving problems in our communities and rather than talking about it and complaining about it, East Texans get together and solve problems for our communities and that's what has happened here."

This new facility will help increase the balanced nutrition in the meals given to families, including things like fruits, vegetables and beef which are usually too expensive for a lot of families to buy, says Bush. The East Texas Food Bank will now be able to help even more families in 26 East Texas counties.

It's not just the locals that are impressed with this new freezer. People across Texas are taking note. Bush says, "I actually have all the other food bank Executive Directors looking at us. We've already had North Texas Food Bank come and look at our facility. They're in capital campaign mode. So, we're going to be setting the stage for what's going to happen in Texas in the years to come."

Bush says the East Texas Food Bank is holding a public celebration to say thanks to the community for all the dedication, commitment and donations. Everyone is invited to an Ice Cream Social to tour the facility August 3 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The celebration also includes a truck parade around Loop 323 with a police escort from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The East Texas Food Bank is located at 3201 Robertson Road in Tyler.

Gillian Sheridan reporting.


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