Struggle to afford food a growing concern in Nacogdoches County - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Struggle to afford food a growing concern in Nacogdoches County

Hazel Bellard, 85, obtains food through public assistance and at food pantries. (Source: KTRE Staff) Hazel Bellard, 85, obtains food through public assistance and at food pantries. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Hunger In Nacogdoches is a public forum designed to create public awareness and develop community solutions. (Source: KTRE Staff) Hunger In Nacogdoches is a public forum designed to create public awareness and develop community solutions. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Terrry Bounds is a volunteer at HOPE. The food pantry provides food baskets for at least 2000 individuals a month. (Source: KTRE Staff) Terrry Bounds is a volunteer at HOPE. The food pantry provides food baskets for at least 2000 individuals a month. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

Right now, it's dinner time.

Unfortunately, this evening there are households struggling to avoid hunger. A lack of money is generally the biggest reason why.

An upcoming hunger forum will explain how every Texas community has people struggling to afford enough food.

Hazel Bellard is a spunky lady who turns 86 in December. The product of the Great Depression knows how to stretch her food choices as she copes with food insecurity.

"This comes from the food bank, and what I like to do is take about a half of them because only a cup is all I need,” Bellard said.

Bellard's income is below the poverty level. She lives comfortably in HUD housing. She accepts food stamps, but pays the privilege back by volunteering at the federal office. 

“I really never went hungry, but there were times I would have liked to have more,” Bellard said. 

Her situation depicts food insecurity. That's a risk of hunger due to a lack of resources - usually money. Food pantries, such as Helping Other People Eat deal with food insecurities every day. 

"Three hundred-fifty, 400 may come through the door a month, but we're actually serving 2,000 people,” said Terry Bounds, the HOPE project leader.

There are seven food pantries in Nacogdoches. They share a shortcoming. 

"We're not able to serve all the needs of all the people who are needing food in Nacogdoches County,” Bounds said.

HOPE used a generous land and financial donation for a new building. 

"We will have probably four times the room that we have now,” Bounds said.
 
The Organization for Faith, Education, and Community wants to raise public awareness by hosting a hunger forum. 

"We are hoping civic leaders will come to hear what the food banks are struggling with and see if as a community we can get together and solve this problem,” said Marilyn Richardson, the volunteer coordinator for the Organization for Faith, Education, and Community.

Meanwhile, Bellard has a well-established habit for solving her personal needs.

"Food is precious. It's given to us to sustain our lives and that's what I like to do,” Bellard said. Not be wasteful."

A forum titled, Hunger in Nacogdoches is Wednesday at the Judy McDonald Public Library. A panel of providers will talk beginning at 6:30 p.m., followed by questions from the audience. 

Click here for an explanation of food insecurities. Click here for the Organization for Faith, Education, and Community website.

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