LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – It started with two boxes of donated food.
Now an annual Lufkin food drive has grown into 1,600 boxes feeding as many families this Thanksgiving.
Across town, 5,000 cans were collected in one week.
The generosity of the Huntington Intermediate students will feed at least 100 families.
It's a saving grace for the Second Blessings Food Bank and Thrift Store.
"We have a very large need this year, our food bank is the lowest it has been since 2010 when we first opened," said Director of Second Blessings Vivian Henson.
These empty shelves are a sign of a growing need in the community.
"Donations are down but not that much. There's just a greater need. There's a lot people out of work," said Henson.
Reverend Bettie Kennedy sees this need every Saturday while delivering food and prayers to those in need.
"I'm concerned about large families where there are 8 children, or 7 children, 5 children in a family because we know a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk doesn't go very far," said Kennedy.
In 1982, Kennedy started what would become a community-wide food drive, the week before thanksgiving.
A couple of volunteers grew into hundreds, in turn feeding hundreds of families.
The old whites warehouse is empty now but come Saturday roughly 350 volunteers will be there delivering 1,600 boxes of food to communities across East Texas.
"It's good to have a box of food. It's good to see people packing it but it's most important when you knock on the door and see the conditions of many of our families of how they're living," said Kennedy.
That's what motivated Bruce Love with DP Solutions to get involved more than a decade ago.
"I delivered a food box to a 92-year-old woman who literally didn't have anything in the cupboard," said Love. He hopes others will get involved this Saturday, calling it a chance to not only feed families, but touch lives in the process.
The undertaking costs around $30,000.
Organizers say any amount of financial help is appreciated.
If you'd like to donate your time, volunteers can show up by 8:30 on Saturday.
That's at the old whites warehouse on the West Loop in Lufkin.
You can mail or drop donations at DP Solutions.