Mission Arlington adjusts to Thanksgiving food donation shortage

Mission Arlington is preparing to deliver 6,000 Thanksgiving meals to families in need this year.

The organization has come across some roadblocks getting certain types of food, but volunteers are making changes to meet those challenges.

Facing shortages of holiday favorites, Mission Arlington is still determined to deliver 6,000 meals on Thanksgiving Day. And they’re looking for 6,000 volunteers to help them do it.

With less than 48 hours to go before their Thanksgiving giveaway, Mission Arlington is in full swing boxing up cornbread, stuffing, veggies and other canned goods.

"There’s been more of a need because of the loss of jobs and the crises that people were in," said Mission Arlington Executive Director Tillie Burgin.

But as staff and volunteers prepare the boxes, Mission Arlington keeps running short on holiday favorites, forcing them to get creative.

"We try to substitute. So we’ll substitute an extra vegetable or an extra can of fruit when we can," said Heather Young with Mission Arlington.

But leave it to Burgin to look on the bright side.

"Even in the end when it gets like, ‘There may not be enough,’ this community — somebody tells somebody, and they come pouring in with a turkey or coming in with food," she said.

Last week, the charity posted online that it was low on many traditional side dishes. And in days, one donation after the next.

Peach Elementary School in Arlington donated canned goods. Key Colts Elementary students doing the same.

For families unable to cook, the nonprofit is offering both ready-to-eat meals and a warm Thanksgiving dinner right there.

But Burgin says it’s after the holiday that becomes challenging for the organization, which relies on donations to keep shelves stocked.

"It’s real easy to forget that folks still need food," she said. "So we would ask folks to don't forget that the pantry gets really, really empty."

Yet amid inflation concerns, nationwide product shortages and the ongoing pandemic, Burgin is unwavering in her faith that Arlington families will be taken care of.

"You always go forward with what God provides and use what you have and thank him for it," she said.

Anyone who would like to volunteer can show up at If you want to volunteer at Mission Arlington between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. pick up a meal and deliver it to a local family.