Meet the leaders, helpers and families of the East Texas Food Bank

On a recent, windy Friday, The Tyler Loop walked the East Texas Fairgrounds parking lot with a handheld camera, asking for takers. To our surprise, perfect strangers were willing to share their experience with food insecurity since the coronavirus pandemic. In this special COVID Story, you will hear from various parts of the enormous, well-oiled machine that is the East Texas Food Bank.

The largest nonprofit in East Texas, the food bank has been pushed to the limits of its resources to provide extra groceries to its customers, 47% of whom are first timers, many of whom never imagined they would be in a food line.

As you hear their stories, listen for the patterns, the needs and who is rising to the occasion in East Texas, as we weather pandemic.

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Jane Neal is the executive director of The Tyler Loop and storytelling director of Out of the Loop: True Stories about Tyler and East Texas. In addition to the Loop, she works at the Literacy Council of Tyler and attends Sam Houston State University remotely, where she studies sociology. Jane is a certified interfaith spiritual guide. She is a member of Leadership Tyler Class 33 and a former teacher of French at Robert E. Lee High School, where she ran a storytelling program called Senior Stories. Jane and her husband Don have four children.