Tarrant Area Food bank hosts its last mega food distribution event

As we've previously reported, the toll of inflation is hurting families' bottom line and that of the organizations that serve them.

The Tarrant Area Food Bank has been holding mega food distributions since the start of the pandemic. Wednesday, it held its last one.

Since the pandemic started to now, the TAFB has given out 16 million pounds of free food to families. 

As the mega distributions come to a close, the TAFB is going to direct families to hundreds of their neighborhood food pantries. 

Since August 2020, the parking lot at Herman Clark Stadium in Fort Worth has been packed on some days but not for football. 

"I’ve been with the food bank 12 years, and I now understand that the previous 10 was training for that day," said Stephen Raeside with the TAFB.

The pandemic exposed just how fragile the financial situation was for hundreds of thousands of North Texas families. 

Wednesday was the TAFB’s 100th mega mobile distribution of free food. 

"We have served 200,000 families at those 100 distributions," Raeside said. "And that equates to 16 million pounds of nutritious food." 

The organization says it started seeing a decline in need in January. But with record high inflation, it started to see the need go back up.

Jessica Kinney says the financial pain from inflation is why she came with her family Wednesday. 

"This is the first time in my life I’ve needed help like this before," she said. "And just seeing everyone get help is pretty awesome."

This was also the first time other families came to get help. 

Karea Acosta translated for her mother.

"We are a big family of almost eight, and it’s very expensive out here. I am grateful to have this opportunity to receive this food," she said.

The food bank says inflation and supply chain issues made them go into their own pockets to continue to provide food in recent months. 

"We were writing checks for about 1.5 million every single month to purchase food to compensate for that lack of surplus because of supply chain," Raeside said.

And the food bank has had to resort to "shrinkflation" by cutting the amount of food given to each family in half from 100 pounds to 50 pounds to try and serve the same number of people.

Tarrant Area Food Bank giving away half the regular groceries due to low food supply

Jose Bital has come to multiple distributions. 

"I need the help, so when I come over here to pick up the food to help us and my family," he said. "Now, you need to spend a lot of money to buy groceries." 

While the mega mobile distributions will go away, the help in the community will continue in a different form. 

"Sending clients here to their neighborhood food pantries," Raeside said. "They don’t have to drive here. They don’t have to wait in line."

The food bank says the community has donated to help soften the blow of their unexpected $1.5 million monthly costs.