Fort Worth Stock Show

Volunteers feed Stock Show day laborers

Day laborer Johnny Kelsey heads to work after picking up his vest and sack lunch in the Swine Barn at the Fort Worth Stock Show. The day’s lunches were provided by the Presbyterian Women of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth.
Day laborer Johnny Kelsey heads to work after picking up his vest and sack lunch in the Swine Barn at the Fort Worth Stock Show. The day’s lunches were provided by the Presbyterian Women of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth. Special to the Star-Telegram

Hundreds of workers who have temporary jobs every day at the Fort Worth Stock Show also get a free lunch as part of an initiative called the Sack Lunch Chuck Wagon.

“It is a blessing because a lot of us wouldn’t have had lunch if they hadn’t put it together,” said Andrew Kinney, 48, a temporary worker.

The Stock Show employs hourly workers every year to clean barns and other areas. Kinney and hundreds of other workers received meals prepared by volunteers on Jan. 19, the Martin Luther King Day of Service.

Mike Miller, the Stock Show department manager for employment, said the lunches are “sometimes the best meal or the only meal they are going to have for the day. We try making their life as good as we can out here during the month of the Stock Show.”

The Rev. Melinda Veatch, executive director of Tarrant Churches Together, said about 150 volunteers made 6,000 sack lunches to be distributed to workers for the duration of the Stock Show, which continues through Saturday. “Sack-a-palooza” took about two hours and 45 minutes for the volunteers at Beth-El Congregation.

The Sack Lunch Chuck Wagon initiative began in 2010 with the efforts of First Street Methodist Mission and Broadway Baptist Church to feed the workers. Originally, each congregation made lunches separately but the initiative evolved into a unified effort with the help of Tarrant Churches Together, Veatch said.

This year, the Stock Show provided nonperishable food items for each lunch.

Veatch said the lunches help the day workers save some of their income — they earn minimum wage and have limited resources, she said.

Volunteers from various churches have been delivering the sack lunches, 300 at a time, each day of the Stock Show.

Worker Bobby Bolton, 21, said, “They are doing something they didn’t have to do.”

Diane Smith, 817-390-7675

Twitter: @dianeasmith1

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