Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


How does the East Texas Food Bank work?

The East Texas Food Bank was founded in 1988 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to "fight hunger and feed hope in East Texas.” To meet the needs of the 183,000 clients served, the East Texas Food Bank partners with agencies throughout its 26 county service area to distribute food. The East Texas Food Bank also has nine programs: BackPack Program, Kids Cafe/Afterschool Snack, Summer Food Program, Senior Servings, Senior Box Program, Mobile Pantry, Fresh Produce Program, Nutrition Education and SNAP Outreach designed to meet the targets of children, adults and seniors. The East Texas Food Bank distributed over 17 million meals in 2013.
Food Bank Chain 

Where does the food come from?

The East Texas Food Bank receives food from a variety of sources: area food drives, growers, packers, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, restaurants, grocery store chains and USDA. Despite getting a large amount of products donated, approximately 20 percent of our inventory must be purchased to maintain a variety of items for our partner agencies and the specific needs of our programs.

How does the East Texas Food Bank distribute food?

The primary method of distributing food is through our network of over 200 partner agencies that work in cooperation with the East Texas Food Bank. Food is either picked up at our distribution center by the partner agency, or it is delivered by 18 wheelers to agencies on our delivery routes. From there, agencies distribute the food to clients. Food is also directly distributed through our hunger programs targeted towards children, adults or seniors.

How does the food get to those in need?

The East Texas Food Bank has over 200 partner agencies throughout our 26 county service area who provide food directly to those in need. Our partner agencies include: food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and crisis centers to name a few. The East Texas Food Bank also distributes food directly to those in need through the following programs: Summer Food Program, Senior Box Program and Mobile Pantry.

Do partner agencies pay a membership fee?

No, partner agencies do not pay membership fees but do help with shared maintenance.

What is shared maintenance?

Shared maintenance is a term that is used to describe a partnership agreement  agencies agree to upon becoming a partner with the East Texas Food Bank. This fee is designed to share a small portion of the costs of operating the East Texas Food Bank’s distribution costs with all partner agencies, and primarily helps to pay for the transportation and handling of products to our warehouse. It also helps to cover warehouse expenses and covers other overhead costs. Shared maintenance is very similar to a “shipping and handling fee” that you would pay if you’ve ordered online or from a catalog. By helping with the recovery costs of recovering millions of pounds of food, partner agencies can obtain more food for their clients as opposed to purchasing food at a grocery store. Shared maintenance only accounts for approximately 20 percent of the East Texas Food Bank’s operating income each year. The East Texas Food Bank average shared maintenance for all pounds distributed is less than 6 cents per pound and operated well under the 19 cents cap allowed by Feeding America.

What are the benefits of being a partner agency with the East Texas Food Bank?

Agencies that partner with the East Texas Food Bank benefit greatly. They are able to secure more food than they would be able to purchase at a retail cost. Agencies also have the ability to gain a wider variety of items for their clients then they may be able to secure on their own in their communities.

Does the East Texas Food Bank sell donated food to agencies?

The East Texas Food Bank does not sell any donated food or grocery products to our member agencies and programs. Partner agencies agree to share in the recovery cost as a shared maintenance fee.

How does $1 equal 8 meals?

This is a common question. Certainly, you and I cannot make 8 meals out of a dollar! However, the East Texas Food Bank takes each dollar that is donated and combines it with other financial gifts, donated food products and time that volunteers give to stretch that one dollar to the maximum.

How much of my donated $1 goes to feeding the hungry?

95 cents of every dollar donated to the East Texas Food Bank goes towards programs and services. Only 5 cents is retained for administrative expenses. 

How does the East Texas Food Bank compare to other charities?

The East Texas Food Bank has received the highest possible rating (four stars) with Charity Navigator, America's leading independent charity evaluator. Charity Navigator works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the Financial Health and Accountability and Transparency of America's largest charities.

How many food banks are in Texas?

There are 20 food banks in Texas, each responsible for the counties in their designated service area. The 20 food banks are members of Feeding America and part of the Texas Food Bank Network, an organization that fosters and facilitates cooperation between the food banks through advocacy efforts and the coordination of member statewide resources such as produce and Texas Department of Agriculture commodity food.

What is Feeding America and how does it help the East Texas Food Bank?

Feeding America is a nationwide hunger relief organization, headquartered in Chicago, IL. There are over 200 food banks in the Feeding America Network, including the East Texas Food Bank. Feeding America members are responsible for distributing food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Feeding America assists the East Texas Food Bank by supporting the mission through its advocacy programs, establishing and communicating common food bank operating practices, and leveraging our partnership with national companies which allows us to secure more products and funding on a local level.

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