DALLAS (NewsNation Now) — It’s a basic need that many take for granted, but when the coronavirus pandemic hit it became something that not every family or community had access to: food.
On Dallas’ southeast side, it’s the Wednesday special: a chicken and two sides — bagged up to go from Dallas Hope Charities and carried off by those who need it most during the pandemic.
“You look at the loss of a lot of stability in shelter, in food, in family…all of those things. North Texas Food Bank reports 960,000 people in North Texas alone are facing food insecurity,” said Dallas Hope Charities CEO Evie Scrivner.
In this part of Texas, 396,000 children — like Ziniyah and Nicholas — are not sure where their next meal might come from. Especially when the school cafeteria isn’t in play.
“I got a new teacher!” exclaimed Nicholas. “Yesterday was the first day of school,” said his sister.
They’re learning remotely like so many others. Another little boy who goes by “D3” comes with his Aunt Margaret on Wednesdays to fuel up on his favorites.
“Chicken, some fries, greens…green beans and macaroni and cheese. And pound cake!” said D3.
When asked what Margaret’s family would do without this meal ministry, she spoke bluntly.
“The truth? The God-honest truth? I would do what I always do. I would go in the store and get a basket and go shopping and push the basket out the store.”
They’re not alone. More than 37 million Americans were already food insecure before the pandemic hit, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
“That means that they’re having to give up something to provide food,” said Scrivner. “So there may be the choice of paying an electric bill or paying for a prescription and sacrificing food for that. It may mean there is just flat-out no ability to have food.”
So Scrivner and her team set up shop each week — waiting on cars, hand-delivering from door to door, all in the name of hope and hunger.
“I’m grateful for y’all, because I come and eat here all the time!” said Aunt Margaret.
Scrivner says needing help and being food insecure is nothing to be ashamed about, adding that it could happen to anyone at any time.
“I need you to remember what Aunty told you,” said Aunt Margaret to her nephew D3. “Don’t ever go in the store and pick nothing up that don’t belong to you. Because you don’t have to do that. There are still people out here, okay? You hear me? So we’re going to make a way.”