The Tarrant Area Food Bank got some high profile help as it kicks off its holiday season of Mega Mobile Market events.
Grammy-award-winning musician Leon Bridges and former TCU Head Football coach Gary Patterson were there Tuesday to load some boxes and tour the facility that will serve thousands of families for the holidays.
The coach and the soul singer founded a charity called The Big Good. The nonprofit donated 20,000 chickens and other items to the food bank.
Bridges grew up in Fort Worth and told NBC 5 that coming home allows him to serve a community that poured into him.
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"Leaving my mark outside of the music. and, I literally, witnessed my father who was a cornerstone of the southside there in the '90s. And he created a south environment for a lot of those kids in that area. And, I'm just trying to fill his shoes in that sense. This is, you know, our purpose in life is to serve others," Bridges said.
"I think it's beautiful that so many people have the heart to give their time and help others. And I was at a point where my family was in a predicament where we needed assistance. And so, I just remember those times when friends came there for us. So, this is powerful."
"It's very shallow when you don't think about the rest of the people. We're all lucky, for example, me to be here in fort worth for almost 25 years. So, to have an opportunity to be able to say thank you and give back," Patterson said.
Patterson and Bridges connected a little more than a year ago and a found common interest in helping others. They've since formed a friendship that was displayed as they talked to reporters.
"We're legit homies," Bridges smiled. "It's about continuing to break bread and building on our friendship."
"There's a lot of people like, 'you and Leon Bridges?'" Patterson added, "I can tell ya, it gave me street cred."
Their holiday meal giveaway is called The Big Give and is designed to serve those who need food assistance. This includes families who are still facing the effects of COVID-19, as well as those without the means to provide a Thanksgiving meal for their families.
This year, The Big Give is supplying 20,000 chickens to accompany food products sourced by Tarrant Area Food Bank and North Texas Food Bank. Through several distributions at various locations and over multiple days, The Big Give will reach every corner of the North Texas community.
"Last year, we were able to feed between 80 and 100,000 people a million pounds of food and to have an opportunity now to keep growing that," Patterson said.
"Super excited, can't believe we have this kind of support from 'Coach P' and from Leon Bridges; It's just unbelievable," said a teary-eyed Julie Butner, the president and chief executive officer of Tarrant Area Food Bank.
"Last year, we served 10k families in just one location at AT&T stadium. so we're hoping to feed even more families this year. It's a complete thanksgiving meal that'll serve 4-6 people in a family. And we're really excited to offer this up to the community."
The partnership feeding families across North Texas involves The Big Good, Tarrant Area Food Bank, North Texas Food Bank and Dallas and Fort Worth Baptist Ministers Union and MW Cares Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Dallas-based MW Logistics.
"This year with the supply chain challenges we had and still be able to pull it off with our donors and corporate sponsors, it's just a great thing to see that one more year that we're gonna have people in need be able to go out there and feed their families and not have worry about missing a meal on Thanksgiving," said Mitchell Ward, the owner of the logistics services company.
Events under The Big Give will happen in Dallas and Tarrant counties.
Fort Worth individual pick up on several days and locations:
• Nov. 18, 8 a.m. - noon: AT&T Stadium;
• Nov. 20, 7 a.m.- 12 p.m.: True Love Sanctuary 76104
• Dec. 4, 9 a.m.- 12 p.m.: Tarrant Area Food Bank West, Weatherford
Dallas Mass Distribution at UNT Dallas:
• Nov. 20, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.: UNT Dallas Campus, 7300 University Hills Boulevard in South Dallas.