North Texas food pantries seeing jump in families who need help, including many first-time families

CitySquare, a food pantry near Downtown Dallas, shows there is a significant jump in families who need help.

The organization said many of the families it served in the last week are coming there for the first time.

CitySquare representatives said they're seeing about a 25 percent jump in families now coming to them for help.

Last week, they served more than 1,000 families - 332 of those families were coming for the first time.

Cars were already lined up at CitySquare's drive-thru food pantry before it opened Wednesday morning.

The organization shifted their food pantry to a drive-thru to comply with CDC guidelines. 

CitySquare is seeing about 250 families come through a day for help with food, and that number is only expected to grow.

People using the services said the organization is helping them get through a time of need, especially when some grocery store shelves are empty.

 “Well I'm here because I've been furloughed from my job and I don't know if I'm going back because I work for the schools, and they're doing online classes so I don't know if I'm going back. I need to feed my grandchildren,” Wanda Wonzer said.

“We're seeing a number of people come to us that are saying they got laid off so they need us for the first time,” John Siburt, president of CitySquare, said. “We're also seeing a number of people compromised in their health that feel like this is a safer way to get food than going to a grocery store.”

CitySquare's food pantry is open four days a week - Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. - at the corner of Malcolm X and I-30.

The organization said the best way to help is monetary donations to CitySquare.

They're also needing things like grocery bags to keep their operations running.