‘Generous’ donation opens door for Nacogdoches food pantry’s expansion

‘Generous’ donation opens door for Nacogdoches food pantry’s expansion

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Project Helping Other People Eat (HOPE), a food pantry in Nacogdoches will be expanding its services into an additional building thanks to a generous donor.

Project Helping Other People Eat strives to be more than a food pantry. The purchase of a building right next door to HOPE’s East Main location will offer space for expanded services.

“We will be using this [former sanctuary] to serve Jo’s Diner guests,” said Sharon Ninness, a grant writer and pantry expansion project chair. “Jo’s Diner is our soup kitchen. We will be serving 50 or more people.”

There’s also room for storage and needed office space for SFA students offering social services.

Offices will house social work students who will be connecting clients with needed resources and services in the community," said Ninness while touring the facility.

Nursing students will provide wellness checks and human science students will offer dietary consultations.

Dr. Donna Fickes, a professor in the SFA School of Human Sciences expanded on the partnership.

“This expansion is going to give us a little bit more opportunity. Right now, we have a nutrition student that is interning with HOPE Pantry. They’ll have an office back here so they can work with clients as they come in for nutritional needs.”

HOPE Pantry is one of seven East Texas Food Bank partner agencies. The collaboration led to HOPE’s biggest grant ever from an anonymous donor.

Also, a factor is HOPE’s physical location is the poorest in East Texas Food Bank’s service area, according to

Irene Howard an Agency Services Specialist for East Texas Food Bank.

“They have 57% of individuals above the poverty line, so this was the biggest tract in our 26 counties.”

Renovation for the community resources center will begin soon, with total completion anticipated late next year.

Project HOPE will help with a “Produce Drop” Friday morning at the Nacogdoches County Exposition Center. The event is from 10 to 1. Boxes of produce will be given to anyone, no questions asked. Free school supplies will be distributed too.

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