ARLINGTON, Texas — Thousands of drivers lined up the Thursday before Thanksgiving outside of AT&T Stadium -- the home of the Dallas Cowboys. It would be easy to get the impression that it's a game day due to the heavy traffic around the stadium.
But instead, thousands of people are in their cars to pick up free fixings for Thanksgiving.
This year, more families found themselves needing help.
"I'm a freshly retired schoolteacher, and my mom is living with me too. So, she's 85. And so, with her and living together, it, you know, makes it hard for ends to meet," said Deb Durrant.
Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) leaders took their cues from people like Durrant and the economy. They started working on their holiday food giveaway months ago. That included lining up volunteers and recruiting companies in North Texas to join them.
For hours, more than 300 volunteers loaded car after car with everything the families need, including a free turkey.
Julie Butner serves as the chief executive officer for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Her plan included more than just providing a free turkey to every family in need.
"We have pantry items, stuffing, green beans, corn. And then, we also have a produce box. So, people will have fresh produce apples, oranges, bananas," Butner said.
"Food has increased by 13% over last year. And these are families that are typically working and just trying to make ends meet. And when your food cost goes up 13%, you know, you welcome a Thanksgiving meal on your table," Butner continued.
Giving away bananas, oranges and 5,000 Thanksgiving meals, couldn't be done without corporate partners this year.
Griffin Gonzalez from the American Airlines Communications Department organized a group of company volunteers to join her and other managers for the food distribution. They have an ongoing relationship with the food bank, so it's not a first.
"Last year, there was less of a need. So, to see that there are more people that are showing up and American Airlines has the opportunity to impact their lives," said Gonzalez.
It's a positive impact on people like Durrant, who has at least seen the inside of AT&T Stadium.
"I've never been to a game," Durrant said. "But I've done a free event inside, so I know what it looks like."
People who could not make it to the giveaway at AT&T Stadium can still take advantage of the help from Tarrant Area Food Bank. The food remaining from Thursday's distribution will go to different TAFB sites around North Texas for distribution.
Also, click here if you would like to help TAFB with donations, volunteering and community partnerships.