SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Sunrise was still hours away, but Pete Delgado was still wide awake after not getting any sleep all night.
He sat in his car early Thursday morning watching the news on his cell phone just outside the gates of the grounds of Traders Village Flea Market.
“I had a long day,” he said. “I’ve been here since Wednesday at 6 p.m.”
Delgado wanted to make sure he’d have a place in line for the San Antonio Food Bank’s latest mega food distribution event.
His early bird strategy paid off in a big way. He was first in line for the 10 a.m. event.
Soon, though, he would have plenty of company as hundreds of other people in cars began to arrive early.
The food bank began offering these drive-thru food giveaways as a way for people to get help while also avoiding any unnecessary risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Thursday’s was the fourth event, and also the largest.
Michael Guerra, the food bank’s chief resources officer, said he expected to exceed the initial 5,000 estimate and actually feed closer to 6,000 families.
“More than a million pounds of food coming from our warehouse,” Guerra said. “Fresh fruits, frozen items. When you think about that, that’s two grocery carts full.”
Guerra said he expected each family to leave with enough food to last for the rest of the month.
To accommodate the crowds, the food bank turned to Traders Village for the use of its parking lot.
The area had been closed since mid March, just ahead of the city’s mandate for non-essential businesses to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“They called us and said that they need a large area and obviously, Traders Village has a pretty good footprint,” said Brian Billeck, the company’s marketing director.
“It’s great, on the one hand, to see that we’re able to help so many people and said on the other hand that, unfortunately, so many people need it nowadays,” he said.
Billeck cheerfully escorted his company’s mascot, an employee dressed in a giant flea costume, throughout the parking lot to entertain people as they waited for the event to begin.
The food bank also was sure to add some holiday cheer in each food bundle it gave away. Along with all the essential items, it also included some Easter candy in all of the parcels.
Delgado was grateful for the bit of happiness and help.
“This is great that they’re doing this,” he said. “I’m so grateful to the food bank and Traders Village.”
The San Antonio Food Bank has another mega food distribution planned for next Friday at the Alamodome.
Pre-registration is required. For more information, click here.
COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.
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