Food bank plans free giveaway Dec. 15


The East Texas Food Bank (ETFB) will hold a special holiday food distribution that includes meat on Wednesday, Dec. 15 from 10 a.m.-noon, at Bud Moody Stadium in Quitman. Future monthly distributions will be limited to fresh produce and occur every third Wednesday. 

Quitman was identified as one of the new sites targeted by the ETFB in its strategic plan, said CEO Dennis Cullinane.

There are more than 7,500 residents of Wood County experiencing food insecurity, he noted.

The ETFB has some good partners in Wood County, and it was an area where the organization felt it could do some more to help.

The food bank will be bringing a trailer load of food and projects it will serve 1,000 families with 20 to 30 pounds of food each. Cullinane explained when the first distribution is made in an area, it’s a guessing game how many people might show up, but they have consistently underestimated.

It’s when so many show up that the reality sets in that food insecurity is a serious issue, which also can lead to better financial support and volunteerism from the community.

“They don’t realize the need until we show up,” he remarked.

Food insecurity was already a big crisis before the pandemic hit, Cullinane explained, and that just exacerbated the problem.

Now that the economy has started to come back, things have gotten a little better.

The ETFB was already a large presence in Wood County, partnering with eight local food banks.

The regional group wanted to do more to assist during the holidays and to add some proteins on top of the fresh fruits and vegetables that it typically distributes.

 “Wood County is like so many other East Texas counties that suffered a lot of hardship, job loss, and more during the pandemic,” said Lucy Hebron, Wood County judge.

“Our demands for food have increased and we are appreciative of the East Texas Food Bank, that our residents will be able to benefit from the fresh produce. Studies show there is a direct link to good nutrition and health outcomes, and we live in an area with high rates of obesity, physical inactivity and poor diets, so the ability to access vegetables and fruits will benefit our residents.”

The distribution will take place at the Quitman football stadium parking lot. Enter on West Side Dr. from Cliff Street. There are no eligibility or ID requirements.