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Need financial assistance for the holidays?

We have compiled a list of financial assistance for food, utilities and clothing across East Texas counties.
Credit: Longview News-Jounral

TYLER, Texas — More than 3.8 million Texans have filed for unemployment benefits amid surging coronavirus cases. On Wednesday, Texas became the first state in the United States to hit 1 million coronavirus cases. 

Our region has not been spared and COVID-19 cases are surging across East Texan counties, forcing many citizens from their jobs and their sense of normalcy. 

These are unprecedented times, and for many, that means they’ll need unprecedented help. Fortunately, our region has plenty of organizations that are ready and able to lend any assistance they can. 

Below is a list of county and regional options for utility and bill assistance, food pantries and low-cost clothing that your family may need ahead of the holidays.

REGIONAL HELP:

Greater East Texas Community Action Partnership

GETCAP services 17 counties in East Texas, including all on this list. Their services include weatherization for homes, assistance with paying energy bills, medication, and shelter. Applications are required. Apply here or contact them at 1-800-621-5746.

Toys for Tots

If you’re in need of assistance buying presents for children for the holidays, Toys for Tots in East Texas can help. Request a toy here. Donate one here

Area of Agency on Aging of East Texas 

This program was designed to help coordinate services for persons in East Texas who are 60 or older. They focus on helping minority, low-income and rural elderly residents with nutrition, transportation, and caregiver support. Contact them here. They serve all counties on this list except Angelina County. 

East Texas Veterans Resource Center

If you’re a veteran, the East Texas Veterans Resource Center can help you get emergency funds and food, help with home repairs, transportation, job training, and counseling. Contact them here or by calling 903-556-0600, or reach out to your county’s Veterans Services office.  

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels East Texas will service elderly and disabled citizens by bringing them a daily hot meal, or by helping with liquid supplements. They also work with Pets Fur People to deliver pet food for household dogs and cats once a month. Contact them at 903--593-7385.

ANGELINA: 

The Salvation Army of Lufkin

Currently gearing up for their Christmas drive, The Salvation Army of Lufkin can provide those in need with their soup kitchen and food pantry, rent assistance, emergency housing, and clothing. Contact them at 936-634-5132. 

United Way of Angelina County

United Way of Angelina County is dedicated to helping residents get through the COVID-19 pandemic. They offer help with health care, emergency assistance, home-delivered meals for the elderly, and daycare, among other things. Find their contact information here

Christian Information & Service Center 

This service provides help by way of a food pantry, utility assistance, free uniforms, coats, gas vouchers, and bus tickets. Contact them at 936-634-2857. 

CHEROKEE: 

Helping Others Pursue Enrichment

H.O.P.E. of Cherokee County includes services like a soup kitchen, food pantry, prescription assistance, low-cost clinic, emergency dental programs, and transportation. Some applications may be required for certain services. Find out more information here

GREGG: 

Helping hands of Kilgore

While mainly a food pantry, Helping Hands of Kilgore may also have funds to help with water bills and filling prescriptions. They will also provide heaters and blankets in the winter to the elderly and families with children ages 2 or younger. Clients are eligible for assistance every 30 days.

Longview Community Services

The Family Service Center meets with each family who seeks assistance from Longview Community Ministries. Assistance varies from food, rent or mortgage, utilities, prescriptions, heaters, fans, dental extraction, and medical screenings. Applications are required for several services. Find out more here.

Hiway 80 Rescue Mission

Hiway 80 provides these services: meals up to three meals a day, a clothing room, prescription assistance, emergency shelter, medical clinic, laundry services, a computer lab, and showers. Located in both Tyler and Longview, find out more about their mission here

Other food pantries
A list of other food pantries and food assistance programs in the county. 

RUSK: 

Mission Carthage 

As a part of giving back, Mission Carthage puts together a Thanksgiving Box Giveaway in November. They also have a food pantry, education classes and benevolence funds for other causes. Call 903-693-4673 to schedule an appointment. Appointments are available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

SMITH: 

People Attempting To Help 

PATH has several different programs for seeking help, like a choice of a food pantry, medical assistance, rent help, emergency utility funds, and transitional housing. They are also currently in the middle of the Coats for Kids drive. Call 903-597-7284 to get in contact with a case manager who will help you apply for the assistance you need. 

St. Vincent de Paul

Resources are limited, and the families may only make requests for rent help, prescription drug vouchers, food, and security deposits anywhere from once per month to once per year. St. Vincent also provides a soup kitchen and fresh garden program, as well as a low-cost thrift store for housewares, clothes, and appliances. Find more information here

Tyler Family Assistance Center

TFAC provides a robust choice pantry, including meat and fresh produce when available. Other services include a clothes closet, personal care and hygiene items, and limited financial assistance for Tyler Water Utilities, medication assistance, and a local bus day pass. They are able to serve families with Tyler zipcodes once every month. Contact them at 903-595-1021.

Hiway 80 Rescue Mission

Hiway 80 provides these services: meals up to three meals a day, a clothing room, prescription assistance, emergency shelter, medical clinic, laundry services, a computer lab, and showers. Located in both Tyler and Longview, find out more about their mission here

UPSHUR:

Big Sandy Agape House

The Agape House assists the needy with food and clothing, along with limited financial assistance. They also have a low-cost thrift store for clothing and housewares. They will distribute Thanksgiving food on November 18 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Proof of income required. Call 903-636-4471 for more information. 

VAN ZANDT:  

Van Community Ministries

Open to any resident of the Van Independent School District who meets the annual income guidelines for 130% of poverty and can produce proof of residence. Produce is available to any resident regardless of income. Foodservice is done on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Financial assistance for rent and utility assistance is only available to regular food pantry clients but includes rent, utilities, prescriptions, and gasoline. Find more information here

WOOD: 

Helping Hands in Hawkins

This non-profit gives one food box per month to families in need as well as free clothing. Those who require long-term help also get different monthly assistance. To be eligible for assistance, clients must have a Hawkins address and phone number and live in the Hawkins school district. All are encouraged to shop in their thrift shops as the proceeds fund the food bank effort. 

Kindness Kottage

Beyond being just a low-cost thrift store, the Kindness Kottage services families in the Mineola Independent School District with food and emergency assistance with utilities and prescription drugs. Clients are encouraged to call and schedule an appointment to assess their needs. Call at 903-569-9197.

The Blessing Box

The Blessing Box is a non-profit resale shop and food pantry. They rely solely on both monetary and household donations and offer financial assistance when funds are available. Contact them for more information. 

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