Fort Worth church groups make sure stock show day workers stay fed



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Posted on February 9, 2013 at 12:49 AM

Updated Saturday, Feb 9 at 11:11 AM

The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is all about big things; big livestock, and even bigger crowds.

This year, an effort by a growing number of Fort Worth-area churches is helping the annual event's day workers, many of whom struggle to make ends meet.

Close to 6,500 brown bag lunches will be packed by the Sack Lunch Chucho Wagon, a group of volunteers from 27 congregations. 

"I don't think people really know their stories...that there are some of them trying to get off the streets," said Reverend Melinda Veatch, who helps orchestrate the overall effort.

Once the lunches are packed up, they are dropped off at the First Street Methodist, a Tarrant County food bank.

Deandre Lawson and other volunteers are in charge of loading up 225 lunches each morning of the stock show and making sure they arrive in time for lunch.

"I'm the driver, the loader, I do everything," said Lawson.  "I know they really appreciate it."

D.J. Ferrell is just one of the 200-plus day workers at this year's event.  He works a 12-hour day but only makes minimum wage.  Like a lot of the workers, he goes from job to job.

In fact, some of them are homeless or spend their nights in shelters.  It is why that simple brown bag can make such a difference.

"It can be their only meal," said Austin Wade, another day laborer.

Organizers say they plan to get more churches involved next year.