ETFB, Partners in Health program to provide healthy food, nutrition education to families

Head Start Program

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The East Texas Food Bank partnered with Tyler Independent School District’s Head Start program to help families facing food insecurity. This program provides them with access to healthy food and nutrition education.

East Texas news spoke with organizers and a family receiving assistance for the first time due to the pandemic.

At the East Texas Food Bank, this pilot program with TISD’s head start, is called Partners in Health. Pre-registered families in need gather once a week to collect their food box, produce, and nutrition guide. This program began in November.

“When this opportunity presented itself it was nice just because 2020 has been such a weird year. And with a newborn, we knew we were having a newborn soon, it’s just nice to be able to have extra food on hand,” Eloise Ghrist said.

Ghrist is a mother of four and has been receiving food for her family every Tuesday since the program began. In her effort to keep her family and three-week-old newborn safe from the pandemic, she says this program is helpful.

“Yes, absolutely, especially by the end of our pregnancy, is when this started and I wanted to avoid being out in public as much as I could, just in duress. Now having a newborn, it’s super helpful.”

Of the 30 families screening positive for food insecurity, 12 families collect food on a weekly basis. Items include, milk, rice, canned goods and more.

“Specifically, targeting head start is focusing on families with young children and there could be a long-standing impact if you start young, the choices that those kids can learn to make can have a big impact on their future,” Nutritional Education Program Manager, Kinsey Jeffers said.

Due to the pandemic, the food bank released YouTube videos to help families on nutrition education.

“We created for this project, healthy videos online that the families could watch, instead of us completing the nutrition education here on site. So, we provide the families also when they’re here, with a packet of those nutrition education handouts.”

The food bank says the program will run for six weeks.

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