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'If It Wasn't For This We'd Probably Go Hungry': Car Line Stretches More Than A Mile At Fair Park Food Giveaway

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) -  A couple thousand more families can sit down to full tables Tuesday night.

Another North Texas Food Bank food distribution at Fair Park drew a big crowd.

It's the fourth such distribution since the pandemic began.

"I actually live in West Dallas," says Rene Hightower. "But I came this far just to get the help."

As the cars formed a mile-long queue through the parking lots, each told a story of a family in crisis.

Lines of cars at Fair Park food giveaway
Lines of cars at Fair Park food giveaway (CBS 11).

"If it wasn't for this, we'd probably go hungry," shared Richard Archer.

Archer says his daughter heard about the food giveaway on the news and sent him to get food.

"With unemployment benefits cut, her husband's been laid off for three months. So, it's just been a struggle. If it wasn't for church, and food giveaways, the kids would be going hungry."

Another car. Another family in trouble.

"There's times I open the refrigerator and there's little there," says Diana King. "We make do with what we have and we make it stretch."

King has taken in her daughter and her family. So she says every dollar the family is able to save on food, helps to avoid another crisis.

"It helps pay a bill, so the water doesn't get turned off. The gas doesn't get turned off. Mortgage? We are right there on the borderline."

The North Texas Food Bank planned to distribute enough food to support 2,000 families.

Several hundred more were served at a new walk up option being offered for families in the community without transportation.

"When stimulus checks hit, we saw a decrease," says Valerie Hawthorne, Director of Governmental Relations with the North Texas Food Bank. "But with unemployment insurance benefits running out, we've seen the need increase."

Organizers say they see no indication that the food assistance will no longer be needed, anytime soon.
"Anytime you have an economic crises, you're going to have a food crisis," says Hawthorne. "It's very easy to compromise on food and nutrition: got to make that rent payment, got to make that car payment. so that's why we are out here today. so we can help folks."

Meanwhile, partners in the effort are reminding the community that the food bank needs support, as well-- adding that cash has more impact that donated canned goods.

"We want the North Texas Food Bank to be a success," says Brian Luallen, Executive Director of Fair Park First. "We provide logistics and structure. They are doing the heavy lifting, distributing over 100 pounds of food to each family, and it's critical they get the donations needed to keep doing good work in the community."

Although the distribution effort was more efficient and families avoided the hours long wait in line, Luallen says the need has increased.

"I'm thankful," says King. "I'm thankful today. that we made it out here, today and we'll be able to feed our families."

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