UT Health East Texas Olympic Center hosting holiday food drive

UT Health East Texas Olympic Centers on Thursday will kick off a food drive benefitting the East Texas Food Bank.

Throughout the month of November, donation barrels from the East Texas Food Bank will be placed at Olympic Center locations in Tyler, Lake Palestine, Cedar Creek Lake, Jacksonville, Hideaway Lake, Chandler, Mineola, Rusk and Pittsburg. UT Health Pittsburg also will have a donation barrel at

the hospital.

Greg Maschal, director of UT Health East Texas Olympic Centers, said this is the eighth consecutive year the Olympic Centers have hosted the food drive. Last year, they contributed a total of 23 barrels of food and have a goal of 25 barrels this year.

“Part of our mission statement is that we improve the quality of life in the communities we serve and we feel strongly that that doesn’t stop within the four walls of our facilities,” Maschal said.

“The community has supported us for 23 years and we feel it’s important to give back to the community,” Maschal said. “I can’t think of another organization that epitomizes improving quality of life better than the East Texas Food Bank.”

Anyone may drop off canned or nonperishable food items at Olympic Center locations. Also, any new member who donates 10 or more items will have their enrollment fees waived.

Sam Cordaro, food drive coordinator for the East Texas Food Bank, said food drives this time of year are especially important because the need increases around the holidays.

“It definitely brings in a lot more food that we can immediately send out,” Cordaro said. “It’s food that can be readily used.”

Cordaro said he appreciates the fact that this drive has a broad reach because of where the Olympic Centers are located.

“It’s not a localized thing just here in Tyler, it’s all around East Texas, so it’s nice to see everyone get involved,” Cordaro said.