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Project HOPE in Nacogdoches says food needs in area have improved since 2020

Published: Jun. 17, 2021 at 2:14 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 2:15 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - A long line of vehicles each Monday and Thursday outside Project HOPE is typical. Yet, the wait is shorter than last summer.

“We were doing 200-250 every Monday and Thursday [last year],” said volunteer Lisa Denman. “And then the stimulus checks came out and slowed down some.”

First-time clients returned to work. And grocery store shelves were better stocked. Client numbers began returning to normal.

“We are averaging 120 to 150,” said Denman.

Organizers are taking a wait and see approach for stable numbers.

Volunteers say don’t presume food donations are no longer needed. Nacogdoches Medical Center is extending a cereal drive through June 25.

“Even though it tapers off, we have more food to be able to give out,” said Denman.

Volunteer Sharon Ninness knows the food can be used in so many places.

“We are open fifteen times a month. We’re open two times for food distribution each week and then two evenings a month. Also, four times a month for produce distribution and one time a month for senior box distribution,” she said.

Project HOPE is partners with the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler where food can be purchased at reduced costs and grocery stores donate surpluses. Still, a cost is involved.

As for all consumers, rising food prices takes a toil on food bank budgets. It takes $9 instead of $6 to fill a food box.

“Things have really skyrocketed recently. We are in the red $2,000,” shared Ninness.

As the numbers of clientele become more manageable, pre-filled boxes will be replaced by the popular choose-your-own groceries beginning July 8. Occupancy restrictions and mask wearing will be enforced. https://www.nacogdocheshope.com/

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