NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Graduate students in Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Social Work have helped prep for and promote the fundraising event “Christmas in July for H.O.P.E,” which invites the community to restock and support the food pantry, Nacogdoches H.O.P.E., or Helping Other People Eat.

The fundraiser, which will take place from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 14, at the Cottage Wine Bar in Nacogdoches, will directly benefit H.O.P.E. and its soup kitchen, Jo’s Diner. It’s free to attend, but monetary and canned food donations will be accepted and go directly to the pantry. Canned meats, fruit and vegetables are preferred, as well as cereal and peanut butter. 

Four graduate assistants pursing a Master of Social Work at SFA have contributed to the creation of the event by designing flyers to share in the community and through social media. They also will be present the day of the event to accept donations.

“The pantry now serves 2,400 families per month — a big increase since before COVID-19,” said Wilma Cordova, professor and H.O.P.E. board member. “However, there has been a shortage of food since then. Food is rescued from local food stores, including stores in Lufkin. The pantry is able to buy food from the East Texas Food Bank at a low cost. However, at times, even the food bank does not have food to purchase.”

The event will feature live music from local musician Johnny Mullins and the band, The Love Peddlers. Additionally, local artists will sell their creations during the event. Appetizers and alcoholic beverages also will be available to purchase from the Cottage Wine Bar. 

According to the website, H.O.P.E. provides supplemental food to Nacogdoches County residents in need, and clients can visit the pantry once per week to obtain food. Food-insecure families and individuals may include senior citizens, people with disabilities, veterans, homeless individuals and others. 

H.O.P.E. is a client-choice food pantry, which allows individuals to select the food most appropriate for their dietary needs and storage. 

For more information, contact Cordova at