The Tarrant Area Food Bank expected 6,000 families to pass through a "mega mobile pantry" outside AT&T Stadium Friday, the food bank's largest event yet. Food banks in the Metroplex have been holding large drive-thru events since the pandemic started.
"The economy hasn't recovered," says Tarrant Area Food Bank Chief Executive Julie Butner. "Until the economy recovers, we're going to continue to see these kinds of lines. It may even get worse."
The deployment of the Texas National Guard is ending, though, and Butner expected this to be the Guard's last assignment with the food bank. In the meantime, she says the food bank needs additional volunteers and donations. People can get more information at tafb.org/coronavirus/.
At the mobile pantry Friday, TCU Head Football Coach Gary Patterson volunteered.
"You're happy and you're sad," Patterson says. "So many people, right now, need help, but to be able to do all this the past two weeks, last week in Dallas and now here, that's just been awesome."
Tommy Brown, the pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dallas, brought several members of his congregation to help.
"The need is great. That's why you see so many cars lining up early to receive food," he says. "We had a lady get out of her car just to thank us. She said with everything going on in this country right now, not only do we need food, we need prayer, and she even thanked us for that. That's what I love about America. When we have tragedy in this country, we all know how to pull together, come together and solve the problem."
Butner says mobile pantries will continue as long as demand remains. At this event, each family was provided with a 15 pound frozen turkey for Thanksgiving in addition to a week of groceries.
"I just talked to a lady who was saying she didn't know what she was going to do next week. She didn't have any more money in the checking account," she says. "It's very heartbreaking to see so many people need our help. The flip side is it is heart-warming to see how much the community is supporting our efforts to help those people who need our help."