Tyler (KYTX) -- The number of families getting help from the food pantry in Troup has doubled from when it first opened. One husband and father tells us it wasn't easy for him to reach for help, but the thought of his family prevailed over pride.
"I got a very good job, making lots of money. And I went off the deep end, bought a new car, got a new house," Russ Kincaid said.
About that time, Kincaid said the economy took a nose dive, hurting his job in construction.
"All of that debt started piling up, things started getting tougher and tougher, a lot of financial pressure," Kincaid said.
He has a wife, 4 kids, and one on the way. Kincaid talks about the sacrifices they've made.
"We don't drive very far anymore, we have to stay local because gasoline is so expensive. "We've eaten a lot more beans and rice and not nearly as much meat as we are used to eating," Kincaid said.
But they've never missed a meal, thanks to getting assistance from the First United Methodist Church in Troup once a week. "Pride is hard to swallow. It's very hard to swallow, I was there," Kincaid said.
He's not only a client, but a volunteer. And there are more than twice the number of families lining up for groceries.
"Two weeks ago, we set a new record--we had 187 families," Jackie Gerla, Director of the Troup Pantry, said.
She says the pantry spends $800 a week to buy food from the East Texas Food Bank.
"The community loves us, but the economy is down and we're not getting the monetary support we would like to have," Gerla said.
It's support people like Kincaid depend on, and his situation has changed his perspective.
"Before all this started, I thought if you're poor, it's because you're lazy," Kincaid said.
Kincaid now realizes that's not the case and is committed to caring for others who are down on their luck. First United Methodist is one of more than 200 agencies partnering with the East Texas Food Bank.
This is all ahead of our one-day food drive starting Thursday at 5:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
You can drop off non-perishable food items at Walmarts on S. Broadway in Tyler, 4th Street in Longview, and Daniel McCall Drive in Lufkin.