AUSTIN, Texas - Long before the food started to be handed out Thursday morning, hundreds of cars, trucks, and vans waited in the parking lot of Austin ISD’s Burger Athletic Complex.
Some who drove here got in line as early as 4:30 and took naps as they waited. Others drank coffee to stay awake as a small army of volunteers with a Central Texas Food Bank prepared.
"All of these are bittersweet days, the ones like this we are all saddened by the need we are saddened by the number that we are starting to see but on the other hand we are thrilled to death to be able to to be here to just do what Austin Heights at Central Texas typically do, and we turn out to help each other,” said Derrick Chubbs with the Central Texas Food Bank.
Video from the SkyFOX Drone showed a large number of vehicles in the parking area and how the distribution was organized. It wasn't a free-for-all but instead, methodical, with vehicles moving in sections, from the parking lot into several food distribution lanes.
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Once the boxes were loaded police officers guided the drivers out as a new line of rolled in. Enough care packages were put together for 2000 households.
"I have no words on how to say thank you, believe me, we need it,” said a woman picking up food for her family.
The boxes that were handed out were filled with non-perishable food items, produce, and hygiene products.
"Bless them, because it's such an important task that they're doing I think it's wonderful,” said one woman.
The food bank covers more than 20 counties in an area twice as large as the state of Massachusetts.
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"The face of hunger isn't what you think. It's not automatically homeless, it is not automatically unemployed, I like to use the example from last year with the government shut down, and how many individuals and families we had a chance to talk to that said: I never thought I would be here, I worked my entire life, and I find myself here, and it's very discouraging,” said Chubbs.
With the need continuing to grow, the food bank is expanding this program and the extra work is going beyond Austin.
"We're going to be doing these throughout the month of May twice per week here in the Austin area and will be doing some in Waco and in Temple as well,” said Paul Gaither with the Food Bank.
The next food distribution is scheduled for Saturday. It will take place across town in the parking lot of Reagan High School's Nelson Field.
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