Fighting Hunger in East Texas

Many organizations provide free meals on National Hunger Awareness Day.

But for many less fortunate East Texans, visiting the Lufkin Salvation Army for a hot, free meal, is a daily routine.

"It's a good place to come and eat. Even socialize if you want to. Everything I've ever heard about the salvation army kitchen is that it's a good thing that it's here," said free meal recipient Ronald Shelton.

Lufkin Salvation Army workers know their food assistance program is important to the community.

"Even in a community as generous and as progressive as Lufkin is, there is still a need. There are families who are just getting by. Sometimes that's not enough. Sometimes they go a day without having a meal that most of us take for granted," Lufkin Salvation Army Captain Hank Harwell told us.

"Some of them look like they haven't eaten a meal in a week, and if I were in their shoes, I'm sure sawdust would probably taste good," Salvation Army Cook Natasha Melton said.

But of course sawdust isn't on the menu. Different foods are served daily and vary from hot soups and sandwiches to beef and fried chicken. They even serve dessert.

Those who take advantage of the food assistance program tell us it's a good one, and say more programs like it are needed.

"I believe that if everybody actually tried to look out for their brother, we wouldn't have the hunger problem we do in this world today," Shelton said.

Program volunteers tell us they are proud to be able to help those in need.

"I get, 'god bless you,' and, 'thank you!' and, "I haven't eaten in three days,' and I'm glad I'm able to provide for them. I'm glad I'm on the giving end because it's rewarding," Melton told us.