Each year when the Stock Show comes to town, it attracts tens of thousands of visitors. It also injects millions of dollars into the local economy.
For spectators, it can be easy to get lost in the pageantry and excitement of the animals and events and not notice the hundreds of people diligently working behind the scenes to make the show a success.
Sadly, many of these people are homeless.
And for scores of local day laborers, the financial benefits of the Stock Show can be all-important. The three weeks between Jan. 18 and Feb. 8 mean a chance at short-term employment that might help them to scrape together the funds needed to get them off the street.
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But even with their modest earnings, many would go hungry, unable to afford meals at the show’s concession stands, if not for the efforts of a generous community.
The Tarrant Area Community of Churches, an interchurch nonprofit organization, has taken on the task of helping to feed 225 homeless hourly workers and the 75 traveling laborers each day of the Stock Show.
The 27 local churches and faith groups involved in the effort call it the Sack Lunch Chuck Wagon initiative, now in its third year. During the Stock Show’s three weeks, a team of volunteers fill 300 bag lunches with healthy, non-perishable, pre-packaged food items each day.
According to the group, more than 6,000 sack lunches will be provided this year alone.
The 60-year-old TACC’s stated mission is to “connect congregations and the community to affect & address unmet needs in Tarrant County.”
In a news release, executive director Melinda Veatch reports that the group already has volunteers for 2015.
Even the spectacle of the Stock Show has not distracted people from the greatest needs within the community.
That says a lot of good about the people of Tarrant County.