Local church and food bank offer free groceries at drive-thru food distribution
Southeast Texas Food Bank and Harvest Church banded together to offer a mass food distribution for residents of Jasper County. A mile-long line of cars turned out Friday for more than 45,000 pounds of food — enough to last a family a week, maybe more — at the Food Bank’s first Covid-19 related food distribution with staff directly engaging in the distribution. The drive-thru distribution helped families who have been impacted by layoffs, work furloughs, and cuts in pay as a result of coronavirus.
Volunteers at Harvest Church in Jasper and elsewhere across our region have seen an increased demand for food since the coronavirus outbreak began. Volunteers and staff at Friday’s distribution provided boxed groceries for around 500 families at their mass food distribution, with those supplies coming from the Southeast Texas Food Bank. A line of cars wrapped through the parking lot and down the street. Lori Thurman, Agency Relations Specialist at Southeast Food Bank, says it shows how much the area’s food insecurity has increased.
Volunteers wearing masks and gloves worked in tandem with Food Bank staff similarly equipped to execute a distribution line that brought boxes of groceries to people’s vehicles while following social distancing practices. Some unpacked the food from its original packaging, while others placed the products in the vehicles.
“Overall our food supply has dwindled some from where it was a month ago,” Dan Maher, President/CEO for the Southeast Texas Food Bank said. “However, thanks to shipments of commodities that we are periodically receiving and willing volunteers preparing them for distribution, the Food Bank has been able to keep up with much of the increased demand our partner agencies are experiencing.
“You see all the people here today, you see all the people at the local food pantries, I think that’s a testament to the way people step up when they recognize a need. There are people who are very low on food at their house. Now they’re leaving with some food that will help them stretch their resources,” Maher said.