Jean Pickett, Tannie Wilson, Barbara Yoder

East Cleburne Community Center Executive Director Jean Pickett, left load a cart with food boxes assisted by Tannie Wilson of Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas, center, and Barbara Yoder, project director for Johnson County Supporting Our Seniors United Way of Johnson County.

About 20 volunteers at the East Cleburne Community Center braved Wednesday’s 90 degree plus temperatures to load boxes of food into a steady stream of cars and trucks pulling into ECCC’s covered semi-circle drive.

Need is great of late, ECCC Executive Director Jean Pickett said, given the challenges of COVID-19 and widespread unemployment.

Barbara Yoder, project director for Johnson County Supporting Our Seniors United Way of Johnson County, agreed.

“So many children are out of school now and have been out of school for sometime because of COVID-19,” Yoder said. “With so many out of work there’s a lot of food insecurity. That area of town is one that’s been targeted for addressing food insecurity. It can be a desert if you don’t have transportation. And we had several pushing strollers and things up to get food because they don’t have cars.”

Wednesday’s drive-thru food pantry event came about through collaboration between ECCC, United Way of Johnson County and the Tarrant Area Food Bank.

“We have a regular food bank once a month,” Pickett said. “But we’ll have two this month and  today’s was a special one. TAFB brought their truck and dropped the food off and all we had to do was pass it out. The extra event is because of the COVID-19 situation. They’ve changed the rules for that. Usually, we ask people to complete an application once a year. But we’re not requiring that right now.”

Pickett said the monthly food pantry event is now in its 15th month.

“Usually we serve about 130 families each time, which works out to about 350 individuals,” Pickett said.

Pickett praised the “great base of volunteers” without whom, she said, the pantry would not be possible.

ECCC, 602 Olive St., otherwise conducts a food pantry on the fourth Wednesday of each month.

For information or to volunteer, visit eastcleburnecc.org or call 817-556-3716.

ECCC is temporarily closed outside of the food pantry events as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. Once the center reopens staff members and volunteers will resume year round programs for children and seniors.

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