Some North Texans still struggling to provide food despite returning to work, food banks say

Those in charge of keeping North Texans fed say the need has shifted.

Food pantry organizers say nowadays many people who drop by for free food and meals are working but still need the help. 

At the onset of the pandemic, most of the recipients were unemployed due to countless layoffs and furloughs.

Now, many of those same folks have returned to work but still need help as they try and get back on their feet.

Summer is also a challenging time with kids out of school and at home for lunch.

At Herman Clark Stadium in Fort Worth Friday, the Tarrant Area Food Bank handed out 8,000 meal kits with help from sponsor Hello Fresh. 

"Producing a healthy meal they can enjoy together around the table," said Jeffrey Yorzyk with Hello Fresh.

Organizers say the need has changed in recent months.

At the onset of the pandemic, nearly every recipient was out of work. Now many have gained employment but still struggle to make ends meet.

"We have families, working families that cannot provide. They are working multiple jobs just to provide the most basic needs for their family," said Dr. Shagranda Traveler with the TAFB. 

The summertime often sees spikes in food insecurity due to schools being closed and students having limited access to school-provided meals.

Catholic Charities of Dallas is seeing a similar need. The organization distributed 60,000 pounds of food at a mega food drive in the Red Bird area Friday.

"As you seem the pandemic has slowed down," said Rigoberto Aguilar with Catholic Charities of Dallas. "But a lot of people are struggling from everything that has happened through the year."

The turnout was less than expected, feeding hope that is the tide is turning. The need in the short-term remains great.

About 550,000 people battling food insecurity across the 13 counties served by the TAFB.

On Aug. 10, the TAFB will host a back-to-school mobile market at Globe Life Park in Arlington.