Local pantries join forces in monthly, county-wide bank

By Rachel LaCroix—

Associate Producer

Nearly 200 families line up for food in the Stephenville First Baptist Church parking lot on the third Thursday of every month. Food pantries all over Erath County, such as Grace Place Ministries, St. Luke’s Episcopal, H.O.P.E. Inc., Graham Street Church of Christ and The Love Basket come together each month in hopes of giving people food security.

When Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) decided to bring food to Erath County in July of 2018, Sherry Carroll of Grace Place Ministries and Jill Scott of H.O.P.E. Inc. joined together to coordinate the event, with the goal of bringing fresh food to the families of Erath County.

“Our goal is to help the community, the people that live with food insecurity,” Sherry Carroll said. “They go from paycheck to paycheck, or they just struggle, or a medical expense comes up and they can’t get their food. This gives them fresh good food they can eat to help them.”

TAFB supplies thousands of pounds of food to Erath County each month at no cost. A food truck will arrive on the third Thursday every month with fresh produce carrying a diverse selection such as zucchini, potatoes, bok choy, pears, blueberries and bananas. This month TAFB was able to supply over 20,000 pounds of fresh food to the people.

“We get all kinds of good stuff and they get excited,” Carrol said. “We had someone come through a minute ago that was a vegan, but she was so excited about all of this fresh produce she was able to get. It’s nice to know that they’re getting filled.”

When TAFB has an excess of something, they add it to the food truck to be handed out, along with the fresh produce. This time it was chicken and milk. Families were able to add protein and dairy to their bags along with fruits and vegetables for a well-rounded diet.

After the food is donated, the community comes together to make the event happen. It all works because the people of Erath County are willing to work hard to give back. Carroll and Scott get volunteers from food pantries and students in the area, but they also get volunteers from people who have experienced the generosity of the volunteers and want to pay it forward.

“We’ll get college students that are needing to get some community service hours, or they just heard about it and want to come help,” she said. “Most of them are volunteers who want to be at food pantries in the area anyway and that’s how they know about it. We get a lot of people who have been receiving food, and they come back and say can I help with one instead of just receiving.”

Volunteers for this event are needed every third Thursday of the month to help set up and tear down the tables as well as hand out the produce to the people.

For more information or ways to help, call Sherry Carroll at Grace Place Ministries at (254) 965-4022.

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