FORT WORTH – Hundreds of families in need lined up outside the Community Food Bank Tuesday morning to get a free Thanksgiving meal for their families.

Some, like Nick Lauff, even spent the night sleeping outside to make sure they'd get a turkey.

Lauff has fallen on hard times, and it's the only way he could afford to give his wife and son a Thanksgiving meal.

"It means a lot, it means I'm able to show my family how much I love them and everything," Lauff said. "I don't mind doing this for them,."

But there aren't enough turkeys to go around.

Only about the first 500 in line will get a turkey unless the last minute generosity matches the need.

The charity is experiencing the worst turkey shortfall it's ever seen, which could leave a quarter of the 4,000 families who pre-registered for free Thanksgiving meals without a bird.

"The need is real dire, this is the most severe the need has been since we've been doing Thanksgiving," said Karen Harris, Community Food Bank executive coordinator.

Since the news of shortfall aired on News 8 daybreak, Good Samaritans stopped by to donate dozens of turkeys.

Air Force Veteran Eric Smith did so in remembrance of his mom, who recently passed away.

"I would hope that a lot of others would get out of bed this morning Walmart or somewhere, and go out and purchase some turkeys to help some people this morning," Smith said. "Just to have a turkey, some people don't even have that. If I was in position to feed everybody around, I would do it."

Times are tough for the hundreds standing in line Tuesday morning.

"I lost my job and my car, we're doing a little bad right now," said Roderick Caesar as he held his two year old son, Davion.
But being able to feed his family on Thanksgiving because of the generosity of others is giving Caesar a glimmer of hope.

"This is a blessing," he said.

Harris said he hopes the giving continues.

"If each family just brought one turkey, the need would be fulfilled," said Harris.

If you'd like to give, the Community Food Bank is accepting donations, including birds, throughout the day Tuesday. You can simply stop by their headquarters at 3000 Galvez Avenue in Fort Worth, donate through their website,, or call (817) 924-3333.