NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Should I say number one?,” said Hazel Bellard, a faithful client of Project Helping Other People Eat,(Project HOPE). She was holding her #1 pass indicating she was the first one in the doors to Jo’s Diner.
With a big smile Project HOPE vice-president Denise Lee exclaimed, "Yes show number one. I’m so glad you are the first one thru the door.”
Bellard was pleased too. She understands the mission's importance.
"It's a wonderful program and I want to be part of a wonderful program," said Bellard who frequently stops in for senior food boxes and fresh produce.
A free hot lunch for the first 50 guests is a community need and a long-set goal of Project HOPE volunteers.
"It's important because we have such a high poverty rate in Nacogdoches County,” explained Lee. “It's now 30%. Statistics show it's anywhere between 25 and 30."
Each volunteer cooked meal is nutritionally based.
On this day, hydration tips were given. Even recipes were handed out so healthy eating would carry on right at home.
"I think that the goal of many food pantries is to provide nourishing food for the population that they serve,” said Sarah Drake, an instructor in the SFA Food, Nutrition and Dietetics Program. “Things with more vitamins, minerals and fiber."
Aside from that, Jo's Diner, named for a generous benefactor, offers companionship.
"We all should know each other because we live in this community, so I think it's very beneficial for people to know each other and communicate and socialize if we can,” said Bellard. “I think it's awesome."
A complete schedule of Jo’s Diner can be found at the doors of Project HOPE located at 2100 East Main Street in Nacogdoches. The first fifty people are served on a first-come-first-serve basis. All meals are free.