TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Smith County Food Security Council and the East Texas Food Bank (ETFB) hosted an all-day event Tuesday where East Texans could fill their grocery bags and learn more about the resources the community offers.
The ETFB will handed out free, fresh produce during the Produce Drop and Community Resource Roadshow for the Smith County Food Security Council.
“Our goal today is not only to give people access to fresh nutritious food, as you saw earlier, but also put them in touch with a lot of the community resources that they may not be aware of,” said Tim Butler, program services director for the ETFB.
In addition to the free produce, families and individuals are invited to connect with local service providers, such as WIC, Medicaid, Goodwill, Health and Human Services, and more.
“You’ll be able to talk to health insurance providers, eye care, there will be some people there for pregnancy assistance," said Dennis Cullinane, CEO of East Texas Food Bank. "It’s going to be a full roam of services; Texas Workforce Commission will be there. So, we’re really trying to help all of the needs of the families we serve.”
Cullinane said there are more than 40,500 people in East Texas who are food insecure and this event helps serve as a one stop shop for even more than fresh food.
“It’s really kind of attacking poverty in a holistic perspective,” said Butler. “So, the food is going to get people to the next day, the next week, the next month. I think a lot of these resources are going to help them with chronic issue they’re having in their life, whether that be health care, transportation, food for their children, that kind of thing.”
The Produce Drop and Community Resource Roadshow began at 10 a.m. and wrapped up at 6 p.m. at New Days Community Church on Broadway Avenue in Tyler.
The produce, services and information provided by community partners come at no cost.
“Everything is free. If you’re in need, we want to help," Cullinane added.
According the Butler, the Food Security Council hopes to host the event quarterly throughout the year.