TYLER (KYTX) - During the holiday season, especially in a poor economy, many of us put extra time into helping those who need it most.
With holiday giving in mind, the our news partners the Tyler Morning Telegraph launches it's second annual Shine Your Light campaign, urging the community to donate to nine chosen East Texas non profits.
The East Texas Food Bank is one of those non profits, and the organization is changing lives.
The smiling faces of Tyler brother and sister, Nehemiah and Yasmine Sterns, may not show the real struggle they're dealing with - hunger.
East Texas Food Bank Communications Director, Karolyn Davis, met the Sterns personally this week.
She says, "They've had tough times. The father is unable to work because of a car accident and the mother's had brain surgery a few months ago. They're doing the absolute best they can, however times are tough for this family so they are needing help in feeding their children."
The loving family is one of thousands that gets help from the East Texas Food Bank, and their 200 partner agencies that help distribute their food to the needy. The program that helps feed the stern kids is the backpack program.
Food bank board member Herb Buie said, "We send nutritious food home with these children. That way they can make it until they come back [to school] on Monday."
Buie has been with the food bank for over 20 years.
"Many really can't comprehend that there'd be that many hungry people in Tyler Texas and East Texas, but it really happens. Many of our people have to decide whether to pay the utility bills or buy food," Buie says.
The number of people the food bank feeds, grows every year.
"Approximately 428,000 people, believe it or not, in the 26 counties, are hungry." Buie said.
He says they are able to feed so many people because the organization is managed so well. For every dollar you donate, 95 cents goes straight to the hungry.
The organization isn't just feeding people, but keeping them healthy as well.
"We have a well rounded program and we cover all facets of food and nutrition. That's why I've served so many years on the East Texas Food Bank board. I think it's one of the finest organizations," Buie said.
The inspiring organization keeps families like the Sterns going during tough times.
"The families we help, they just feel so blessed," Davis said.
These families are reminded that there are people out there who really care.
Along with the backpack program, the food bank also has a mobile pantry that travels to needy neighborhoods, and a senior program that feeds the elderly.
To see Rebecca Hoeffner's story about the East Texas Food Bank, click here, http://www.tylerpaper.com/article/20121216/NEWS08/121219818
You can also pick up a copy of the Tyler Morning Telegraph.