Food donations poured in by the trunkful over the weekend (Courtesy of Roger Lippert)

In response to an urgent appeal for food, community groups rallied to assist Resource Center over the weekend.

Leather Knights, Dallas Bears, The DFW Sisters, Cheer Dallas and Congregation Beth El Binah were among the groups that answered the plea to fill the bare shelves of the Resource Center food pantry.

According to Resource Center spokesman Rafael McDonnell, the food pantry had peanut butter, tomato sauce and beans on Thursday. He said the shortage was due to a number of factors, including a static budget but an increasing number of clients, the economy and cutbacks in corporate donations to the pantry.

Quite a bit of the items stocked by the pantry comes from the North Texas Food Bank, which had equally bare shelves.

“Is this the bottom or is this the new normal?” he asked. He said Resource Center staff was trying to figure that out.

Groups helped fill the shelves mostly through urgent appeals to their members on Facebook. The Dallas Eagle became a collection point for evening and Sunday donations.

Nutrition Center Coordinator Daniel Sanchez became acting food pantry manager after food pantry manager Micki Garrison left Resource Center last week after 10 years. Sanchez said the emergency food drive made a difference.

“The response was incredible,” he said. “It’s going to help us a lot.”

He said clients who took very little last week saw the variety on the shelves this morning and said, “Oh, my god, we’re gonna shop.”

Congregation Beth El Binah was using the center over the weekend for Yom Kippur services. Although the holiday is a day of fasting, members brought cans from home or made cash donations at the door. Because the back parking lot was closed for part of the day for a festival celebrating Resource Center’s 30th anniversary, the congregation hired a valet to park cars. In addition to juggling cars, the valets helped unload food as volunteers drove up with trunk loads.

On Saturday morning, Karen Lukin, community and media relations manager for Whole Foods North Texas division, said she shouldn’t be at work because it was Yom Kippur, but she had to come in to call the center and let them know the store would be donating $5,000 in food items this week. Sanchez said he was expecting those items to arrive later in the week.

Although the immediate crisis was averted because of the weekend collection, McDonnell said people have to eat next week and next month and next year. He asked the community to continue with its generosity until new funding streams and sources of new corporate donations appear.