TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The East Texas Food Bank (ETFB) is breaking ground today for their new Tyler Resource Center and Tyler Produce Processing Center.
The food bank said these facilities are part of the overall strategic plan aimed at expanding programs, disturbing more food and serving more people.
“We are excited today to move forward with our plans to build a new food pantry in Tyler at our distribution center,” said Dennis Cullinane, CEO of the East Texas Food Bank. “The 2,500 square foot Tyler Resource Center will be located in close proximity to low-income neighborhoods, in a census tract where 34% of the population lives below the poverty line. This is the first time in our history to operate a food pantry onsite at our facility to help close the hunger gap.”
The Tyler Resource Center will include a ‘Healthy Food Pantry’ to provide nutritious food through a client-choice distribution model.
The center will be open several days a week including some evenings and weekends to increase access to food assistance. The Benefits Assistance Program will help clients apply for SNAP and other social service benefits.
‘We currently estimate that the ETFB will serve 500 Smith County households each week and provide 756,000 meals annually with our new Tyler Resource Center’Dennis Cullinane – CEO East Texas Food Bank
The construction of a 9,000 square foot Fresh Produce Processing Center will allow the ETFB to collect, store, repackage and distribute fresh fruits and vegetables more efficiently in the 26 county region served by the ETFB.
The Tyler Resource Center and Fresh Produce Processing Center, along with other infrastructure such as a new road for delivery trucks, represents a $7 million investment.
Funding for these initiatives came from several generous grants including from philanthropist Mackenzie Scott and the American Rescue Plan Act. The new facilities are anticipated to be completed in the summer of 2023.