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Food bank funding slashed due to pandemic

Dear Editor: The recent headlines regarding funding cuts and increased food insecurity as it relates to hunger are alarming. Even more alarming is that prior to COVID the poverty rate of Cherokee County indicated to be 17% and in some studies as high as 27%. What do these alarming headlines mean for Cherokee County? According to a recent news story, “ The Texas Department of Agriculture has “slashed” food bank funding by 44%, despite a record need related to the COVID-19 health crisis.” The story goes on to say that  “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of East Texans facing hunger increased five percent and the number of children increased 10 percent. Now, nearly one in four East Texans, including one in three children, are facing hunger every day.” 

This is the reality facing Cherokee County, NOW everyday! We are fortunate to have several food pantries in our area but they are operating with less money, less food and serving more people. Here in Jacksonville, HOPE will have been serving our neighbors in need for 30 years in 2021. What an amazing milestone, and a tribute to everyone in Cherokee County who has served on the board; donated time or money or food, and to our ever faithful employees over the years. We are blessed and thankful.

As it is with all our agencies that assist those in need in Cherokee County, these are difficult times. According to Luis Guardia, president of the Food, Research and Action Center, “COVID has just wreaked havoc on so many things: on public health, on economic stability and obviously on food insecurity. “It's a crisis that's testing families, communities and the social safety net in ways that may have seemed unthinkable before the pandemic began.”

Over the next few months, as we head into the holiday season and the unknown of the pandemic, please make it a personal priority to make regular contributions of money or food to HOPE and other food pantries in the area. The need is great. Also, please take advantage of upcoming opportunities to give cans of food or to support HOPE’s fundraising efforts.

Saturday, Oct. 24 - The Cherokee County Public Health Department will be hosting a Boo to the Flu drive thru for flu shots and are asking for donations of canned food for HOPE.

Beginning, Oct. 24 thru Oct. 31, the Cherokee County Master Gardners will host the annual Scarecrow Trail with donations of canned food or monetary donations benefitting HOPE.

Monday, Oct. 26, HOPE will host a drive thru and pick up Soul Food dinner made by the one and only Sylvia Mae. Plates will be one for $15 or two for $25. All proceeds benefit HOPE.

Go to HOPE’s facebook page @hope.jacksonville for an online raffle and purchase raffle tickets for four wonderful prizes, with the drawing taking place on Oct. 26th.

We are a community that takes care of each other. This is a time like no other to be a community that cares!

Cheryl Adamson

Board Member, HOPE

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