Sunday, July 29, 2012

Food drive left out Tarrant County - Fort Worth Star Telegram

kennedy Glenn Beck's traveling medicine show brought 11 truckloads of food to Cowboys Stadium.

But they all rolled back out of Arlington.To the frustration of local relief officials, the city and county hosting Beck's Restoring Love carnival Saturday didn't share the donations collected.The TV host's Irving-based media empire sent one of the 11 trucks filled with 40,000 pounds of food to a charity in Irving, and other food to Dallas. The remaining 10 trucks went to cities across the country.At Mission Arlington, Director Tillie Burgin was grateful for 800 Restoring Love volunteers who worked Friday moving furniture or sorting supplies, but she said seeing food collected in Arlington go to Dallas "does worry us.""Sometimes people get mixed up about exactly where they are," she said.At the Fort Worth-based Tarrant Area Food Bank, spokeswoman Andrea Helms chose her words carefully."We are always trying to get the word out that we are the agency serving Tarrant County," she said.Of all the service projects promoted by Beck's thinly organized and tax-exempt Mercury One charity, the most prominent was the Restoring Love Through Service Food Drive, advertised online as providing relief at a time when cities are "trying to restrict acts of charity."The home page included photos of tractor-trailer rigs from Virginia-based Operation Blessing International's warehouse in Grand Prairie."Glenn said he had donations lined up, but he didn't have a way to warehouse or transport them, so that's where we came in," said Jody Gettys of Operation Blessing.About 150 volunteers worked Friday loading trucks with dry cereals, pasta, canned vegetables, apple juice, saltines, beans and rice, all donated in advance for delivery to 11 food pantries including one in Irving.(Food donated at the stadium was to be trucked to the North Texas Food Bank, which serves Dallas.)The biggest beneficiary of Restoring Love might be Irving Cares, where a truck will be unloaded Monday.Like most charities, Irving Cares is stretched thin: 850 families in June compared with 650 a year ago, according to executive Teddie Story."We're seeing people who are working but were cut back to 25 or 20 hours," she said. "Or people who need, say, a car battery and can't afford groceries."This truckload will feed Irving's hungry for 20 days, she said."I don't know how Glenn Beck's people found us," she said.We're grateful they did.But I wish they'd also find Tarrant County. Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538Twitter: @budkennedy

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