Jesus Himself fed thousands of people physical food, and then made it clear that He is the Bread of Life. At FIAO, we offer both kinds of bread as well. Each week, our volunteers transport around 5,000 to 6,000 pounds of food from the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler to stock our shelves, and every Thursday we give it away. We are able to give families about a week's worth of canned goods and a little bit of meat, but they are only allowed to come to the pantry once per month. This means that we are simply "filling in the gaps" with mostly non-perishables so that clients are able to purchase more perishable items with their income or with SNAP. It is our desire to allow folks to come more often, and as soon as we have the funds to do so, we most definitely will.
According to the latest US Census Bureau, 16% of the population in Henderson County are living below the poverty level, but in the Malakoff Independent School District, close to 70% of children are on the Free or Reduced School Meal program. That's why the Food Pantry is so important to this community. In the past year, we have served over 4,000 individuals in 1,300 households.
Through the gift of food, we are able to show people that we care about their physical well-being, and by listening to each individual who comes through our door and offering them an opportunity to pray, we show that we care about their spiritual well-being as well. Just one way we serve Jesus by serving others.