Photography by Danny Fulgencio
In April, an SUV filled with toilet paper drove down the highway as people honked and shouted. The commuters were enraged that some woman had stocked up on toilet paper during a pandemic supplies shortage.
They didn’t know that she wasn’t a toilet paper hoarder, but a volunteer headed to the Vickery Meadow Food Pantry.
The organization typically served 20 to 30 families once a month, but after COVID-19 they served between 150 and 200 families a week. The food pantry provides meals with the help of the North Texas Food Bank and local grocery stores.
Along with providing family boxes to clients, the VMFP needed additional equipment and new refrigerators and freezers to keep up with the growing amount of food. Luckily, the pantry was able to afford these things with help from neighbors.
“One thing we’ve been really fortunate about is that the neighborhood has been very generous,” VMFP treasurer Laura Huehn says. “Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church and Temple Emanu-El have been generous in donating resources. They did food drives early on for us.”
The two organizations collected 10,000 pounds of food and delivered it in 10 SUVs.
“One entire SUV was macaroni and cheese, and one was tuna,” Huehn says. “They did all the sorting for us and we could just bring that in, and that was a huge help.”
The food pantry also received $50,000 in donations after City Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates mentioned the food pantry in her newsletter, and the call to action only took two days.
VMFP volunteers who were initially overwhelmed and frightened when the pandemic began, could now afford weekly milk, eggs and other things that were never in budget.
Along with providing food, the pantry handed out vital information on COVID-19 in different languages for the community of immigrants in Vickery Meadow. The lack of information in Spanish or Burmese directly impacted essential workers employed at nearby meat factories.
“You get very close to the clients,” Huehn says. “One of the things that’s been interesting is through all of this, even with masks on, we still know the clients. They know us and especially prior to this, when we really had a chance to shop with them, we got to know them.”
While none of the volunteers at VMFD was prepared for a natural disaster such as this, Huehn says that they are more prepared than ever.
“Not only that it’s nice to know the clients and to see the benefit, but also during times of crisis like this, to really see the whole community come together,” she says.