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ETBU Community Comes Together For Annual Food Drive

December 3, 2015

MARSHALL NEWS MESSENGER (12/3/15) - East Texas Baptist University students, staff and Marshall community members gathered and collected more than one ton of food on Wednesday to benefit Harrison County families that need a little help this holiday season. 

The university teamed up with Shreveport-based TV station KSLA for the second annual food drive to benefit Mission Marshall.

Mission Marshall serves more than 800 Harrison County families each month, Marshall food pantry Director Alisa Roberts said on Wednesday.

"As an ETBU alum, it's great to have students and staff here and at other collegiate institutions across Marshall come together to collect items for these families in need," Roberts said. "We had sororities and fraternities at Wiley College recently donate items. Students in the community from different schools and organizations volunteer their time to stock and organize items at the pantry."

The ETBU Tiger football team and band showed up at noon during the all-day food collection event to drop off some items and help organize. The university's women's basketball team helped at the end of the day to load up all of the items in vehicles to be taken to the pantry.

"We've had 14 student organizations and clubs sign up to volunteer for an hour each throughout the day today to collect items and organize," ETBU Dean of Students Tyler Sellers said. "Fortunately we have good students here at ETBU that care and take up the opportunity to serve. We've had a great response and a good mix from our student clubs, organizations and teams."

KSLA Weekend Sports Anchor Matt Harris said this year's event has grown since it's inaugural year in 2014.

"We raised about 500 pounds of food last year throughout the whole day and right now we're at about 1,800 pounds and it's only noon," Harris said. "When I got here at 6 a.m., there were already students here working and dropping off food."

Harris said the food drive is in conjunction with KSLA's other locations throughout the Ark-La-Tex, including one collection location in Nacogdoches, two in Shreveport and one in Texarkana.

"All together between the five locations last year, we collected about four tons of food to give to local food pantries and food banks," Harris said. "We're hoping to surpass that amount this year."

ETBU head football coach Joshua Eargle said his players jumped at the chance to collect food items for those in need.

"We ask our students and player to think about things and people outside of themselves, think bigger than themselves," Eargle said. "We have 13,000 hungry families in Harrison County and that's embarrassing. Our players have used their own money to go buy items or brought food items from home to help the hunger issue here. At ETBU, we believe in being the hands and feet of Christ by giving back to the community that we live in."

ETBU junior football player Verry Jackson said when players got the mass email from the coaches about the food drive, they immediately responded.

"That's not one of those mass emails that you ignore," Jackson said. "We responded in mass by buying items like canned foods, boxed foods and bags of rice."

Those wishing to help out families in need may visit the Mission Marshall website at

(Used by permission, story by MNM reporter Bridget Ortigo)