Amerigroup knows how important it is for Texas families to have access to healthy food. Our recent $25,000 donation to the East Texas Food Bank shows how community-level support can make a huge difference.
The donation helps fund the Mobile Pantry Program, which provides produce to low-income families in the 26 East Texas counties that the Food Bank serves.
With distribution at 15 neighborhood and community center sites – a number that will grow to 20 over the next two months – the program is expected to deliver 2 million pounds of food this year.
Since its start in late 2020, the mobile pantry program has identified and launched distribution sites in neighborhoods where 20 percent or more of the population lives below the federal poverty line. Those areas often qualify as “food deserts” because they lack grocery stores or retail establishments that offer the fresh produce families need for a balanced diet.
“For kids in these areas, that kind of nutritional food just isn’t available. There are a lot of food deserts in the areas we serve,” said Mobile Pantry Program director Tabitha Johnson. “We just want to feed hungry people.”
The Food Bank partners with churches or local community organizations, which in turn help to spread the message about the availability of food through the Mobile Pantry Program (the program has no income or proof-of-residency requirements). The Food Bank also provides SNAP benefits assistance twice a year, as well as quarterly nutrition education food demonstrations.
Johnson said the smiles and good feelings from participating families — and from the volunteers who help to pack and distribute food packs — show how impactful the Mobile Pantry Program can be.
“There’s this feeling of gratitude,” she said. “These volunteers know the need, and they’re always so excited to be able to be there to hand out and help package the food. And the folks coming up through the line are so appreciative.”