An estimated 6,000 North Texas families took home a much-needed, free Thanksgiving meal on Friday thanks to a massive food donation effort put on by the Tarrant Area Food Bank.
The event, which took over multiple parking lots outside of AT&T Stadium, is the largest food donation event ever put on by the Tarrant Area Food Bank in its 38-year history.
“Demand is going to continue to stay high until the economy comes back, until people can get their jobs back,” said Julie Butner, President and CEO of the Tarrant Area Food Bank. “They are going to need our help.”
That help on Friday came in the form of hundreds of volunteers, and Texas National Guardsmen and women who helped to coordinate the event.
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Each car that arrived during the event, which ran from 8 a.m. until noon, was sent away with an 80-pound box of food, which included a 15-pound turkey and all the fixings for a proper Thanksgiving meal.
Gary Patterson, head football coach of Texas Christian University, helped with the distribution event, and remarked at the massive scale he saw.
“You see the lines here today [and] it makes me happy, but it also makes me sad,” Patterson said.
Among the many thousands who waited for hours for their turn in line was Brian Henry, who expressed his sincere gratitude at the effort.
“I have been laid off. I’ve been off for about six months. My unemployment ran out, and my head was just knocking up against the wall, did not know what was going to happen, how we were going to celebrate Thanksgiving,” Henry said. “But the Lord has come through. I am so proud. I am so happy.”