In 30 years, over 13.5 million pounds of food has been distributed by the King’s Storehouse Food Bank from an 85+ year old building managed for over 20 years by volunteer Peggy Abernathy. She is assisted by local businessman Charles Breedlove, funded by generous donations, staffed with six warehouse workers, aided by a hands-on board of directors, and blessed by countless answered prayers.
Prior to the King’s Storehouse Food Bank operations, the closest food bank to Tyler was in Dallas. In 1985, Bob Steeger from Operation Blessing contacted a minister in Grand Saline who in turn contacted local church food pantries. Operation Blessing had 2,000 pounds of rice they wanted to donate.
Local pastors and volunteers from church food pantries met in Grand Saline several times and God called a group of eight to move forward with a food bank. This food bank would procure and store food to distribute to food pantries and nonprofits who in turn would distribute food to individuals. In 1985, the King’s Storehouse Food Bank – the first food bank in East Texas – was born.
A warehouse in north Tyler was rented, 2,000 lbs. of rice was received, and in 1986 distributions to local food pantries commenced.
By 1987, God provided a building complete with freezer, coolers, carts, desks and equipment. The former Tyler Fruit and Vegetable building, owned by Southside Bank and ready for service, was free. The land it rests upon was purchased.
In 1988, the mayor of Tyler asked our Board to consider merging with a new local food bank that was yet to be constructed. After discussions we declined, as we wished to maintain our Christian heritage, name, and operation. We received a resolution of support in 1988 from the city of Tyler.
Over the years, we saw the needs of nonprofits change. In 2008, we added a room and doubled our size with a generous donation from Rose Heights Church. The room, shelved by Brookshire’s, gave us the space needed to store pallets of cased food.
In 2014, we purchased a building across the street – the Peggy Abernathy Annex – and Brookshire’s generously racked and shelved the space. This additional space will let us help nonprofits meet the increasing needs in East Texas.