Denton city leaders and businesses collected more than 9,000 pounds of food for the community on Thursday.
Denton Mayor Mark Burroughs declared April 4 the second annual Day of Concern for the Hungry. This year the city collected seven times more food than in 2012.
Groups across the city have collected food donations since March 25, which will be donated to Denton-area food banks.
“95,000 people in this county struggle with food insecurity,” Mayor Burroughs said at the Day of Concern press conference.
One of the recipients, Our Daily Bread, a community soup kitchen that serves the homeless in Denton, says events like this are crucial to keeping food on its shelves.
"We're serving right now about 180 meals on average a day,” said Executive Director Millie Bell. "Right now we have a 1,066 clients registered with us; we have 549 of those are homeless and 68 are children."
Two weeks ago Our Daily Bread gave out meal number 500,000 after 12 years in existence. They soup kitchen says its share of donations from the Day of Concern will only cover about a seventh of the kitchen’s monthly food needs. Bell says every little bit helps.
"It won't last long but we're happy to have it,” Bell said. "It takes us – the community – the entire community helping."
Mayor Burroughs says the big goal behind the day is to get folks in town to recognize that there is a hunger problem within their community.
"Part of the reason that the problem is growing, and the problem is growing, unfortunately, has to do with our very success because we're attracting folks; they're looking for a better opportunity," Mayor Burroughs said, adding that the job front in town is getting better, though still needs work.
Burroughs says he first got the idea for Day of Concern last year when speaking to school district leaders.
"I heard a report from the Denton Independent School District that indicated that there were well over 700 homeless children that did not know where their food was going to come from,” Mayor Burroughs said. "They're falling in the cracks and it's up to us in our community, the leadership, to recognize where those cracks are and what we individually can do and then together partner to help fill those cracks so that fewer and fewer folks are left in that really horrific situation."