NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - For 23 years, Nacogdoches HOPE has utilized a small, frame house as a food pantry.
This year, it is in its new building and preparing for a dedication on Wednesday.
East Texas News has been following their construction updates and has details on the finished product and the residents it serves.
Krystyn McKnight is the one in every four people in Nacogdoches County needing help out of poverty. She's wanting to escape that desperate feeling of not knowing where to find the next meal for herself and two young children.
"It's scary. It's definitely empty," McKnight said. "It gives you an empty feeling. HOPEless feeling."
Nacogdoches HOPE wants to turn that around.
"We serve anywhere from 1750 to 1900 individuals per month," said Denise Lee, the food pantry's executive director.
Volunteers have always helped other people eat, but oh the difference the new building is making.
"Every Monday and every Thursday," Lee said.
The non-profit has a large distribution area for a client choice pantry.
"They get to choose what they want," Lee said.
However, clients are also told about "food to encourage."
"And that means healthy foods," Lee said.
There's ample freezer and cooler space to store the food that nearby grocery stores graciously donate.
"Almost every week, it's about 2,000 pounds of food that's donated between the two Krogers and HEB in Lufkin," Lee said.
Monetary donations allow Nacogdoches HOPE to purchase food items in bulk from the East Texas food bank.
"This is our shipping and receiving area," Lee said.
A dry goods room and a kitchen for a proposed soup kitchen are other pluses to help Nacogdoches HOPE fulfill its mission.
"We are here to provide hope in a hopeless world," Lee said.
"It just gives you back that hope," McKnight said. "That even though you are by yourself and even though you might can't do it at that point, that there is a stepping stone."
There are a lot of people on that path. In Nacogdoches County, one-quarter of the population is at the poverty level.
Nacogdoches HOPE invites you to attend an open house on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
The food pantry is open on Mondays and Thursdays. Nacogdoches HOPE is located at 2100 East Main in Nacogdoches.