Lufkin’s Deep East Texas food pantry works to overcome food insecurity among locals

Cullinane says they partnered with TLL Temple foundation to create a food pantry.
Cullinane says they partnered with TLL Temple foundation to create a food pantry.(KTRE)
Updated: Mar. 27, 2021 at 3:34 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - There is a new food pantry in Lufkin. Organizers say it is necessary, due to food insecurity in Angelina County.

“The reason we started is because Angelina County is one of our top counties of food insecurity. Even though we have got a really strong partner here with Christian Information and Services Center, we still have a big meal gap,” said Dennis Cullinane, the CEO for the Deep East Texas Food Bank.

Cullinane said they partnered with T.L.L. Temple Foundation to create a food pantry.

“There are a lot of people out there that have jobs and sometimes two jobs,” Cullinane said. “But that is just not enough to make ends meet with their families.”

The meal gap is a formula that measures how financially short a community is when it comes to the cost of food. Organizers say that number in Deep East Texas continues to be concerning.

“So, we are projecting that the needs are going to be very, very high. Probably through at least 2023 or 2024. We are in this for the long run. It has never been a sprint. It has always been a marathon,” Cullinane said.

Cullinane said the Deep East Texas Resource Center will provide nutrition education classes. Staff members will help with SNAP eligibility and plan to partner with Greater East Texas Community Action to provide utilities and educational assistance as well.

The organization is working to be more accessible. Social distancing and masks are required inside the food pantry. Cullinane said people have the option to get served from their cars, as well.

The organization has been holding emergency food distributions in Angelina County since August 2020, but Cullinane said it isn’t enough.

“We are in Angelina County, as we are in 26 counties across East Texas. But the resource center is not limited to serving people of Angelina County,” Cullinane explained. “If you are in one of the neighboring counties, and you need help, then there are some income guidelines and qualifications that need to be met. There may be people who won’t meet those guidelines and need emergency help right away; we will still serve you.”

No registration is needed to pick up food from the pantry, but registration is needed for some of the other services offered there. For details, click here.

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