Hundreds of cars lined up at Herman Clark Stadium in Fort Worth Friday morning for the last major food giveaway of the year, and just one week before Christmas.
The Tarrant Area Food Bank as well as local pantries all across North Texas have been non-stop since the pandemic began, working to feed struggling families. Communities in our area are also coming together to make sure families in need have food on the table for the holidays.
That includes the Eastern Hills High School pyramid, which consists of all the middle and elementary schools in east Fort Worth. In just two weeks, all 12 schools in the pyramid were able to collect more than 10,000 cans to be donated to Eastside Ministries on Lancaster.
"That's what we do on the east side. Eastern Hills pyramid is a driving force for our community, so whatever we need to do to make sure our families in need are taken care of, that's what we'll do," said Eastern Hills High principal, Katrina Smith.
This week, a food distribution was held in Mansfield on Thursday, and a 3-hour Friday event at Herman Clark Stadium began at 10 a.m. Friday.
“We have some HEB holiday meals that HEB had donated to us along with produce and dry goods for the pantry to last a family of four about four or five days,” said TAFB President and CEO Julie Butner.
The food bank reports giving approximately one million meals a week during the pandemic, a 50% increase.
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“This is really directly correlated to the loss of jobs in the hospitality industry and the retail industry and the restaurant industries,” said Butner.
It is an increase Butner fears will increase in 2021.
“We’re anticipating that after the first of the year we may see some additional increases as a result of further job loss,” she said. “A lot of employers don’t lay off before the holiday. They wait until the holiday is over to lay off.”
Food shortage is also possible without continued government assistance.
The food bank's Mega Mobile Markets at Herman Clark Stadium will resume starting Jan. 8.
According to the Tarrant Area Food Bank, these events are designed to serve any and all residents of the Tarrant area community who are in need of food assistance, and anyone whose access to nutritious food has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tarrant Area Food Bank is also seeking volunteers to assist with registration, traffic control and food distribution. Sign up to volunteer at tafb.galaxydigital.com.
If you are seeking food assistance now as well as during the week of Christmas there is still help available. You're encouraged to find your local food pantry on the Tarrant Area Food Banks website – tafb.org/find-food.