Plano Student Ethan Tong Faithfully Restocks Texas Pool Pantries

Plano West Senior High Student Ethan Tong // photo Jennifer Shertzer
Plano West Senior High Student Ethan Tong // photo Jennifer Shertzer

Ethan Tong, a senior at Plano West Senior High School, became connected to Plano’s historic Texas Pool in 2018 when he met Janet Moos, founder of The Texas Pool Foundation. The pool, a Texas-shaped aquatic oasis, was established in 1961 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Shortly after meeting Janet, Ethan began channeling his passion for health education into volunteering at the pool in December of 2018.

The Texas Pool is also home to a Little Free Pantry and a Little Free Library as a way to serve the community.

“As a local landmark and community gathering place, The Texas Pool’s Little Free Pantry and Little Free Library feed the body and mind, and support a spirit of community in Plano. All may freely partake of the pantries,” shared Janet.

Ethan Tong with Janet Moos at The Texas Pool // photo Jennifer Shertzer
Ethan Tong with Janet Moos at The Texas Pool // photo Jennifer Shertzer

Ethan and his parents, two medical doctors, have been restocking the small, free-standing containers every other week, rain or shine, for the last year and a half. Ethan works as a receptionist and assistant at his parents’ medical clinic, and his work has inspired his passion for health education.

In May of 2018, Ethan founded his own nonprofit, Beware of Sugar. Beware of Sugar’s mission is to educate the public on the dangers of excess sugar consumption. Through Ethan’s research and desire to share his knowledge, he has authored and published two books, “36 Tips for Easy and Sustainable Weight Loss” and “36 Tips for Healthy Living.” The books are available in English, Spanish and Chinese languages. His donations to The Texas Pool’s pantry and library are an overflow of that desire to educate the public on healthy choices.

“My income [from my part-time job at the clinic] motivates me to donate to The Texas Pool continuously,” shared Ethan. “While serving the food pantry at The Texas Pool, I found a great opportunity to spread the word of reducing sugar in one’s diet to a larger audience. I collected and donated items like canned fish, chicken, beans, protein bars, coconut beverages and other nourishing but healthy foods.”

Ethan’s donations to the free-standing library include books, CDs, DVDs and other items that instill the importance of a balanced diet, but also include children’s fiction that he once enjoyed but no longer reads.

Ethan donating throughout the seasons // courtesy the Tong family
Ethan donating throughout the seasons // courtesy the Tong family

On top of biweekly donations, Ethan and his family have also offered free lectures at a church in Plano through their partnership with The Texas Pool. After the success of these lectures, Ethan decided to begin holding in-person health consultations at his parents’ clinic. In addition to those endeavors, he also founded the Wellness Club at Plano West Senior High School at the start of his junior year.

“The Texas Pool is an official certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Awards. Ethan received the Gold Award for his volunteer work in 2018 and 2019,” Janet said. “He is an excellent example of the potential our youth have for changing the world in positive ways.”

Beware of Sugar nonprofit > The Texas Pool >
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