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Churches Feed Homeless Stock Show Workers

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) -  There are a lot of special places to buy meals at the Fort Worth Livestock Show: food trucks with unique offerings, newly renovated restaurants and vendors arena-side at some of the show’s biggest events.

But there’s one place where the meals are for some special employees.

“Sack lunch sir?” a man said as he handed over a brown paper bag to an employee wearing a yellow vest sporting the letters “WRMC,” for Will Rogers Memorial Center.

You’ll see their yellow or blue vests all over the grounds operating equipment, working with shovels and brooms in the animal stalls or cleaning up in areas where all the other people eat.

There are anywhere from 175 to 225 day laborers at the stock show on any given day. Many of them are homeless and come from the shelters to work from sunup to sundown.

And the free brown bag lunch is their only hope for a meal.

“A lot of time you don’t have enough time to get you some lunch,” said Michael Young, a day laborer, as he ate the last bite of his meal outside a show barn. “And a lot of people don’t have the money to buy lunch.”

The Methodist Mission downtown first had requests for sack lunches from people last year.

“Come to find out they were working at the stock show and they were missing breakfast and evening dinners at the shelters and they were trying to get some extra sack lunches for that,” said First Street Methodist Mission Director Rev. Page Hines.

So, the Methodist shelter contacted the Baptist and Presbyterian churches downtown and this year, 225 sack lunches are sent each day to the day laborers at the Livestock Show.

“They want to work,” Rev. Hines said. “They’re working hard. They’re trying.”

So, when you see someone in one of those vests leaning against a building, taking a break and having lunch, know they might be eating a special meal they’re very thankful for.

“I appreciate the lunches,” Young said. “We love the churches that donate to us because a lot of time we don’t have time to go get our own food.”

Is your organization interested in participating in the sack lunch program?  Contact Tarrant Area Community of Churches at www.tarrantareacc.org or 817.737.5554.

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