One of America's largest charity organizations opened a regional headquarters in Grand Prairie on Wednesday.
Operation Blessing International's facility will serve as the humanitarian organization's newest staging point for transfers of millions of pounds of donated food and relief aid from the Southeast to the Southwest.
"We were here in Dallas and Lancaster with the tornadoes, so this will give us great access to the Gulf Coast, all of Texas, even up in the Midwest," said Bill Horan, the organization's president.
Eugene and Lilly Ralph, Hurricane Katrina evacuees, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday to support the organization that once helped them.
"They were the first medical clinic to open up in the Lower Nine area, where we came from, where there just was nothing," Lilly Ralph said.
"It really helps when you contribute to an organization and you see and you know firsthand that they're actually doing what they say they do," Eugene Ralph said.
The distribution center, provides 45,000 square feet of storage space, has already moved 2.5 million pounds of donations.
Operation Blessing hopes to quadruple that number by this time next year.
A number of local organizations have already benefited from Operation Blessing. Up to 50 organizations have received food assistance so far.
"It's a perfect storm of suffering for poor people in this country," Horan said. "There are more hungry mouths to feed as long as our economy is sick."
Next month, the nonprofit is teaming up with Glenn Beck. He is expected to fill 11 tractor-trailers to help the organization.