Extreme temperatures aren’t stopping food pantry volunteers from providing cold, fresh food

River City Community Church serves nearly 350 families every week

SAN ANTONIO – The record-breaking heat is not stopping volunteers from helping people get the food they need.

Hundreds of cars line up the River City Community Center parking lot near Retama Park every Wednesday, waiting for a helping hand.

“You hear them say, you know, how thankful they are that we’re here and how much they appreciate us being out in the heat or in the wintertime,” said Rick Marcantel, a food distributor.

The River City Community Church serves nearly 350 families every week, and that number grows by 25 people every week.

“The people keep coming, and we have new applicants every week,” said Lonna Averill, a food distributor.

Serving that many people year-round means protecting volunteers and food from extreme temperatures.

“Our volunteers were struggling, and we just knew that they needed some kind of relief,” Averill said.

Volunteers start giving out food earlier in the morning to stay cool. Fans are lined up for the volunteers, and there are coolers for the food.

“We do our best to keep it super cold, so people are still receiving frozen food,” Averill said.

To help volunteers combat the heat, the church bought a canopy so that volunteers would be shaded while distributing food. They also have a lot of water on hand.

“Lots of sweat. Still lots of sweat, but less sun. The canopy helps a lot,” Averill said.

As one of the largest food distributors in our area, Rick Marcantel said they’re in need of more volunteers and food donations.

“We have to stop thinking so much about ourselves and thinking about the people around us,” Marcantel said.

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About the Authors:

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.