Cold, icy weather affecting food bank distributions across North Texas

Some area food banks will pause distribution events due to continued winter weather in the forecast.

Food bank workers have seen the need for groceries grow by more than 50 percent since the COVID-19 pandemic started and the organizations rely largely on volunteers to help staff the drive-thru events.

The North Texas Food Bank held its last mobile food bank of the week at New Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas on Wednesday. It’s cancelling the rest due to predicted icy conditions.

"Unfortunately I do know we've had to cancel the Thursday and Friday one because it wasn't safe for us to distribute food," said Marisela Tonche, mobile pantry coordinator, NTFB.

Food recipients at the Dallas event said they rely on the food bank to get by.

"It's very important," one person said. "Not just the cold weather, this pandemic."

"I have four kids at home I need to feed and currently looking for work," another said.

Part of the concern, officials said, is for the safety of the volunteers -- like the Baylor University students helping to facilitate the event.

"It could be rainy it could be icy. I didn't think it would be appropriate to have a drive thru model with our volunteer's safety in mind," Tonche said.

The Tarrant Area Food Bank is keeping an eye on the forecast too, but hasn’t made any decisions.

President and CEO Julie Butner says the popular Mega Mobile Food Bank event held every Friday at Clark Stadium in Fort Worth could be jeopardy this week.

"We don't want community members in harms’ way if we do have weather conditions and we don't want to put our staff in those weather conditions," Butner said.

Butner says people can still get food at partner food pantries in the area.

She says if Fort Worth ISD closes Friday then the event will be cancelled too. The Tarrant Area Food Bank will post updates about cancellations or delays on all of its social media platforms and its website.

The North Texas Food Bank hopes to resume its mobile distribution events next week.

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