Have Food Will Travel
By June Naylor
Photo courtesy of the Tarrant Area Food Bank
Distributing food to the hungry and local charities in 13 counties is a daily, year-round function of the Tarrant Area Food Bank. And the need continues to grow. The Fort Worth-based agency added Mega Mobile Markets to distribute groceries in the city’s food deserts every Friday, too.
For Thanksgiving, the TAFB takes the effort to new levels during the week before, Nov. 17-21, with large-scale donation events in multiple cities. That means more volunteer support is needed. “People are in a giving spirit, and we’re clearing our coolers to get quality food to folks over the extended holiday weekend,” says Jeff Akers, TAFB executive vice president of operations. “The need doesn’t go away just because society is on a holiday. And those in need are just as likely to want to have a holiday dinner with their loved ones as anyone.”
The 100 pounds of food given to each family will include chicken or turkey, fresh produce, dairy items, and a box of nonperishable items. The goal is to provide for 500 people at the Tuesday-Thursday events and 1,700 to 2,000 families on Friday and Saturday.
Since the onset of COVID-19 in March, TAFB hasn’t had volunteers in the Fort Worth facility, but the new open-air mobile markets provide a safe arena for volunteers. At each event, face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer will be provided, and volunteers will have their temperatures checked. Social distancing will be enforced. Volunteers also are provided water, safety vests and planned breaks during their shifts.
Activities are assigned on-site, including handling registration interviews and paperwork by walking from car to car; bilingual skills are helpful in this area. Other duties include helping fill bags or boxes with products to place into car trunks and traffic control to guide clients into distribution lanes.
Shifts will range from four to five hours. Dates, distribution start times and sites are listed; to sign up, visit tafb.org/volunteer.