TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Radio personality Jimmy “J.J.” Olson has become a fixture in Tyler every year at this time, living in a storage pod in the Walmart parking lot to collect food for the East Texas Food Bank.
Every year he asks East Texans to help feed the hungry in our community, and every year East Texans come through.
Not this year, though.
JJO’s Fall Food Drive has been going on for 10 days. And in that time, Olson says donations received are far under goal.
“My goal of 10,000 lbs. is a drop in the bucket as to what is needed,” he said. “This has been an incredible slow drive. In 10 days I should be well over my goal of 10,000 lbs., but I’m not even halfway there yet. So I need all East Texans to step up, look in their pantry. You’ve got stuff collecting dust in there.”
He’s hoping for one last push to convince East Texans to give more. The food, he said, isn’t only for children, but for seniors and veterans who rely on the food bank for their meals.
The numbers of people in need are staggering. According to East Texas Food Bank:
- Texas ranks fifth in child food insecurity rate;
- 240,910 East Texans are “food insecure”;
- 1 in 5 East Texans, including 1 in 4 children, are food insecure today;
- 80,000 households are served by the East Texas Food Bank;
- 21,300,000 meals were provided to hungry East Texans by ETFB in FY2019.
Olson is in the parking lot of the Walmart on South Broadway across from Target. He will be accepting donations through Monday at 3 p.m.
He has been conducting his food drive since 2016.