DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There will be much-needed relief for people struggling to feed their families today at Fair Park.

The North Texas Food Bank and partner agencies are giving away boxes of food.

The first two distributions at the park, since the beginning of the pandemic, brought out thousands of people. By 5:00 a.m. Thursday, four hours ahead of the start of the event, the line was forming again.

Workers with the nonprofit say the need right now is unprecedented.
“This is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this [and] I’ve been a food banker for 7 years,” explained Valerie Hawthorne, with the North Texas Food Bank. “I was down in Houston during the hurricanes and during the floods and the chemical plant explosion and all sorts of things, but I have never seen the demands we’re seeing today.”

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

By the time the gates opened and distributions began lines were more than a mile long.

Each family receives a box filled with dry goods, produce, gallons of milk, and snacks – a week’s worth of food for a family of three.

Distribution began at 9:00 a.m. and runs until noon, or when the supplies have all been given away.

Organizers are asking people to be patient, knowing many are in desperate need of food and that about half of the food bank’s clients right now have never sought help from the agency.

Food recipient Jesus Baca said, “This is my first time, my first time that I’m having to ask for a handout. It’s kind of embarrassing with a college degree and all that. I’m out here standing like in the breadline.”

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Dallas police are on hand to assist with traffic control and the Texas National Guard is assisting with loading the boxes into vehicles, to ensure social distancing.

“At our last distribution we distributed more than 130,000 meals to well over 2,000 households and we expect this one to be just as large as that,” said Brian Luallen, the executive director of Fair Park First. “Certainly this crisis, this pandemic has been impacting a lot of families and we’re just happy to help where we can.”

The distribution is drive up only; those in need who do not have a car can use the “find food” tool on the North Texas Food Bank website to find additional resources.