Hundreds of Fort Worth 76104 families get Christmas meals
Ten minutes after the Tarrant Area Food Bank began distributing boxes filled with Christmas meals in Fort Worth’s historic Southside neighborhood, hundreds of cars drove down a lane of Rosedale Street awaiting families.
The line continued to stretch through the afternoon, and for two hours, hundreds of families living in the 76104 zip code found the stress of finding vacation food relieved.
“Some people, many elderly people can’t get food,” said Thaddeus Hickman as he sat in his red truck. “It’s just very beautiful.”
“This is a blessing from God,” said Kathy Anderson from the passenger seat of a red van.
The distribution of Christmas meals took place at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, 1063 E. Rosedale St..
The food bank and church have put together about 3,000 HEB feast meals. Each family received four meals to support a family of four. The food bank complemented this with additional products and dry goods provided by donors, the USDA and the Texas Department of Agriculture, said Julie Butner, president and chief executive officer of the food bank.
The grocery bank has teamed up with TEAM 76104. The team consists of a group of pastors who have come together to serve 76104 after reading the Star Telegram series “Life & Death in 76104” published in September.
The series traced life in three neighborhoods south of downtown Fort Worth – Historic Southside, Morningside, and Hillside. The series was triggered by a 2019 study by Southwestern that found residents of zip code 76104 had the lowest life expectancy in the state.
On average, people who live in zip code 76104 will no longer experience their 67th birthday and, according to the study, will die 12 years younger than the national average. Heart disease is the leading killer there, and most early deaths occurred east of Interstate 35W, according to deaths analyzed in the newspaper and examined by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner.
Residents described a lack of access to health care and healthy food due to a lack of transportation, insurance, and awareness of programs available to support them. There are 11 corner shops in the area selling packaged foods high in calories and sugars but low in nutritional value.
“When we saw the articles, it became clear how important it is to come here and do something special for this community,” said Butner on Monday.
The aim was to provide 500 to 1,000 families with holiday meals.
Rhonda Branch Yearby, the chief executive officer of Tarrant Churches Together and a member of TEAM 76104, said seeing people means they were doing the right thing.
“We have decided that we must come together as leaders of the faith and take care of the people 76104,” she said. “We felt we needed to get together across Fort Worth to work with other faith leaders who are already 76104 to examine all of the needs – food insecurity, education, whatever is needed.”
Residents also received a flyer informing them of the new Zip Zone program, which can be used to take them to grocery stores and doctor’s appointments for $ 3 per trip. The aviator also determined which pantries are available. Residents can find these places and when they are open by entering “76104” at tafb.org/find-food/.
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Nichole Manna is an award-winning investigative reporter for Star Telegram who specializes in criminal justice. Before moving to Fort Worth in July 2018, she was a reporter for newspapers in Tennessee, North Carolina, Nebraska, and Kansas. She enjoys spending time with her two dogs, a dachshund named Opie and a three-legged terrier named Oliver. You can send her news tips to [email protected], 817-390-7684, or on Twitter @NicholeManna.