TYLER, Texas (KETK) — The East Texas Food Bank introduced its sixth Chief Executive Officer, David Emerson.

Emerson has more than 20 years of leadership in Arkansas, where he served as the Executive Director at the Midwest Food Bank. 

With financial struggles and high inflation making it harder for people to afford the prices at the grocery store, he plans to utilize his experience to address food insecurity in rural areas.

“Some of our counties are high in food insecurity. 1 in 7 East Texans are food insecure and 1 in 5 are children and I want to be a part to address that gap,” said new CEO, David Emerson.

David Emerson said he wants to try and find a solution to the higher costs.

A Federal Reserve report showed that only 63% of adults can cover an unexpected $400 expense.

“We’ve seen some downward movement in some prices of food, but not on everything. SNAP benefits have gone back down from the pandemic levels that they were at and looking for ways to extend the amount of food we are able to collect,” said Emerson.

Emerson is looking for new ways to help the community and build on the progress the East Texas Food Bank has already made.

“I’m a big propionate of partnering with other organizations and I know the East Texas Food Bank has been doing that, so I want to continue doing that and build upon that so we are addressing the holistic problem not just the food,” said Emerson.

He hopes to get down to the root issue and make a lasting impact.

“I think it’s 50% of what we give out is considered high nutritious value and I want to continue to push that number higher as well,” said Emerson.

Emerson said that there is no shame in needing help.

“Reach out, because we want to help you and there’s not a stigma around that right? We want to serve you and help you and give you food resources, but connect you to the other resources you may need as well,” said Emerson.

It may feel like there is no solution right now. If you are looking to lend a hand, the food bank is volunteer-driven and can always use more help