Organizers of an annual free turkey giveaway in Fort Worth said they're seeing the longest lines in recent memory.
Right now, hundreds of people in Fort Worth are standing in line to get a free Thanksgiving turkey from the Community Food Bank. Many of them arrived at 5 a.m., four hours before the first turkey was handed out. More than 700 people were in line by 10 a.m., with more arriving every minute.
"The demand keeps growing. It's frightening," said Executive Director Regena Taylor. "The number of working people is growing. The number of people coming back from war with stress problems is growing. And it's scary. This is America. It's frightening."
Food bank employees said more than 2,000 people contacted them this season asking for Thanksgiving help, but so far they have only 1,000 turkeys to give away. Staff members say the line is significantly longer than last year.
"It breaks my heart, but you know, when people are hungry, they're willing to stand in line," Taylor said.
The Food Bank has everything from individual turkey breasts for residents who live alone, to 18-pound turkeys for residents who can verify they need the extra meat to serve their families. Residents have to register and verify their address with the organization. The Food Bank is giving away turkeys but also side items like green beans, canned yams, bread, and even fresh fruit and vegetables.
For low income families and the working poor, getting it's a special opportunity to celebrate a traditional American holiday.
"It's a blessing, it's a true blessing. Because when you don't have nothing, you can't feed your family," said Shone Holmes. "So when you have this, and they're helping you out, you can do it."
The Community Food Bank — located in the 3000 block of Galvez Avenue — still wants more donations. Regena Taylor hopes she can continue to hand out turkeys through Tuesday as well, but she said it's a tall order given the current demand.
"People don't come out just to be coming out," she said. "They're hungry."
Many residents who received a free Thanksgiving box say they're thankful, and hope that people continue to donate to the less fortunate.
"If you can get some food and get with your family and enjoy all that love, that's the greatest thing in the world," said Jerridean Sandberry, who received a turkey to share with her sister. "That's what this is all about."