CHRISTUS hospital joins with nonprofit to offer remote food locker for people in need

June 2024
Fr. Uchenna Uzoechi, a chaplain within Longview, Texas-based CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health System, speaks at a launch event for the remote food locker.



CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health System in eastern Texas has partnered with a Marshall, Texas, food pantry to open a remote food locker. Community members who are experiencing food insecurity can go online and complete a form to place their food order. They then receive a code that they can enter into a keypad on the locker. That code allows access to a particular locker unit containing the foods they ordered.

The kiosk, which has 16 refrigerated compartments, is located outside of a CHRISTUS rehabilitation center in Marshall.

Misty Scott, executive director of the Mission Marshall nonprofit, talks about the locker's benefits during the launch event.



The locker is designed to assist people in need of food who might be embarrassed or otherwise hesitant to go to a traditional food pantry. The locker also is an option for people who — because of restrictive work schedules and other barriers — are unable to visit traditional food pantries during those facilities' open hours.

CHRISTUS Good Shepherd's partner in the effort is Mission Marshall, which operates a food pantry and social services hub for people in need. CHRISTUS Good Shepherd and Mission Marshall have partnered on past community efforts, including a program that gave free bikes and bike helmets to third-grade students who demonstrably improved their reading.

CHRISTUS Good Shepherd and the Mission Marshall nonprofit out of Marshall, Texas, partnered to offer this new food locker. Food can be stored in the locker's locked units until pantry clients enter codes on a keypad to retrieve the food they've ordered.

In fiscal year 2022, CHRISTUS awarded a $94,000 grant to Mission Marshall through the CHRISTUS Community Impact Fund for a food program for poor and vulnerable people. Subsequent discussions between CHRISTUS Good Shepherd and Mission Marshall led to the idea for the remote food locker, which the partners unveiled early this month. Mission Marshall plans to offer another food locker at Wiley University in Marshall in the future.

Mission Marshall staff and volunteers pack and load the food that goes into the lockers. Fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and nonperishable food items are available. A key goal of the health system and food pantry is to provide healthy foods through the locker system.

Community members are eligible to order from the kiosk if they already qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, reduced or free lunch program, Supplemental Security Income program or Medicaid. They also can qualify if they meet certain income guidelines or are experiencing a food emergency.

Executive Director Misty Scott said in a press release that Mission Marshall, a nonprofit organization, is excited to offer the increased level of privacy that some people desire in accessing free food. Jamey Brogan, CHRISTUS Good Shepherd vice president of mission integration, said in the release that "when people eat healthy, it helps keep them healthy and away from the hospital," thus potentially reducing preventable admissions.


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