Cars started lining up Thursday morning at 4 a.m., four hours before visitors were asked to arrive and four hours before the Fair Park gates opened.
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During stay at home orders that have closed many businesses and sacrificed many jobs, people with the North Texas Food Bank said it is mostly new clients they are serving.
“They’re here at this time, never had to ask for assistance before, and that’s why we’re here. We’re here to help in times of emergency,” said Dr. Valerie Hawthorne, NTFB Governmental Relations Director.
With help from the Texas National Guard, the food bank distributed 6,500 boxes of food to thousands of families. There were dry goods and fresh produce. The number of boxes each family receives depends on the number of people in the family.
Delivery methods are extreme during this pandemic to avoid social contact. Drivers are told to leave their windows up. Workers slip an intake distribution form through the vehicle window. Guard members take a picture of the form through the window to keep track of what people receive. The boxes are then loaded into open trunks or on top of the vehicle if trunks can’t be popped open from inside. Drivers can reload the boxes after they pass away from the checkpoint.
Because drivers are told to keep their windows up it is difficult to speak with them but the food bank people received a message.
“I do see the gratitude and thankfulness on those faces so that’s nice to see,” Hawthorne said.
Thursday’s mobile food pantry was the largest so far, but it is not the last.
“We’ll be doing more in the future. We ramp up three distributions a day for our 13 counties,” Hawthorne said.
Future locations can be found here.