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Thousands Show Up For Thanksgiving Assistance In Fort Worth

By Joel Thomas CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM
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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Food bank workers couldn’t believe their eyes when they showed up for work Tuesday morning.  Hundreds of people were lined up waiting for Thanksgiving turkeys.

“Its unbelievable,” said Regena Taylor, the Fort Worth Community Food Bank’s executive director.

They’d seen a surge in demand recently since there were recent cuts in food stamp programs, but nothing like the 2200 or more people who showed up on Monday and Tuesday.

“We normally average 400 families a day,” Taylor said.  “But since November 1st, we’re averaging 500 families a day.  That’s a big a jump.”

Monday, the food bank had given out every turkey it had and they still had people lined up.

Tuesday, they knew right away they didn’t have enough turkeys.

They feared they’d have to turn people away with only the bare minimum of food.

“If there’s a single mom with three kids, she has to wait and see what food is left before she eats,” Taylor said.  “And if there’s no food left she won’t eat dinner.”

But then people responded to the crisis.

And turkey after turkey began pouring into the food bank.

“We’ve had individuals, family members,” Taylor said.  “We’ve had churches.  We’ve had foundations call.”

When Wal-Mart’s regional office heard heard about the demand they donated 600 birds.

Unlike Monday, everyone walked away with a turkey Tuesday.

Food bank workers have never seen this type of response.

“Not like this!” Taylor exclaimed joyfully. “I’ve never known Wal-Mart to give away turkeys. They saw the need.  You showed it and it made a difference.”

Many of the people who donate can’t imagine just how much a turkey can mean to someone in need.

“I wouldn’t have had nothing to eat all,” said Christina Markle who is homeless. “I think its tremendously warm-hearted of them, especially in the holiday season. A lot of people don’t have family to go home to or anything, much less anybody.  So it kind of gives them some solace, having something to eat.”

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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