Food Bank Damaged by EF2 Tornado Determined to Reopen Soon

Thousands of families are relying on meals provided by Arlington Charities which was damaged by Tuesday's tornado

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Much has been made, rightfully so, about the staggering need among families affected financially by COVID-19.

Food banks are a lifeline for those families.

But that lifeline was cut off for thousands when an EF-2 tornado hit Arlington on Tuesday.

Arlington Charities used to serve about 60 families per day. Since the pandemic began, executive director Deborah Coppola said the food bank serves an average of 200 families per day.

Now they can’t serve any.

The power has been out at Arlington Charities since Tuesday when the tornado touched down in its backyard.

The food bank didn't take a direct hit but their operation did.

Coolers and freezers once filled with food are now empty during what is their busiest time of the year.

“It looks so weird, it does, it does to come in and see everything empty,” Coppola said as she pointed a flashlight into an empty freezer.

She said some of the food spoiled but the Tarrant Area Food Bank is storing much of the frozen items until Arlington Charities reopens.

Even after the power comes back on, walk-in coolers and freezers will remain off because condensers used to keep them cold were blown right off the roof, one of which was installed in October.

“So we are looking to have a new one installed soon,” Coppola said.

Last week, Arlington Charities served 1,300 Thanksgiving meals.

To get back up and running as fast as possible, Coppola isn't waiting on her insurance company.

She plans to pay for repairs out of pocket then get reimbursed.

“We cannot afford to be down and not be able to help at such a busy time in the year so we have made the decision to move forward,” Coppola said. The hope is to reopen as early as next week to continue filling plates and hearts this holiday season.

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