Vehicles with open trunks curved around the parking lot of the Lamar Avenue Church of Christ this morning as the North Texas Food Bank, with the help of the Texas National Guard, handed out food kits to Lamar County residents.

Each vehicle in the parking lot received one meal kit box filled with dry good staples like canned foods, bagged pasta, etc., and one box filled with fresh produce.

“The North Texas Food Bank, those are some great people,” First Assembly of God pastor Mickey Ellis said.

Ellis received an email from a fellow pastor in Bonham about the rural outreach program of the food bank and contacted the organization to set up a mobile drop off.

“I contacted as many pastors as I could to spread the word,” Ellis said.

Since the parking lot at First Assembly was too small for the setup, next-door neighbors Lamar Avenue Church of Christ members offered their parking lot for the mobile food bank.

“This isn’t about churches,” Ellis said. “We’ve come together to help.”

Since the Covid-19 pandemic breakout, the Texas National Guard has been helping the North Texas Food Bank, which is based out of Plano, according to Dr. Valerie Hawthorne, the director of government and community relations for the organization.

“They showed up the first week of April, for 30 days, and then we got a 30-day extension and then another 30-day extension, so we’re excited about that,” Hawthorne said.

Lamar County is part of the bank’s 13-county grouping to help support rural communities. The Downtown Food Pantry, the Lamar Avenue Church of Christ’s food pantry and Our Lady of Victory’s food pantry are all members of the outreach program. The bank has done 79 mobile food banks in rural counties since March 20, serving over 37,000 households to date with the program.

The food bank has been helping rural communities as they are contacted, Hawthorne said.

“We want to make sure we can still support our rural partners,” she said.

On Wednesday morning, the bank showed up with two trucks and eight National Guard members to distribute 16 pallets of food. Half contained boxes of produce and half contained the meal kits.

Kim Cox is the city editor for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6965 or at kim.cox@theparisnews.com.

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