Hundreds show up to Salvation Army food distribution

Cars could be seen lined up along State Highway 495 in McAllen as hundreds of people waited to receive free boxes of produce from the Salvation Army Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday’s distribution marked the second straight day the Salvation Army had provided the farm-fresh produce, said Lt. Adolph Aguirre, commanding officer for the McAllen Salvation Army.

“We’re partnering with Othal Brand. … He has partnered with Farmers to Families to provide food boxes to the community,” Aguirre said.

Originally, the organization had just planned to hold one distribution at lunchtime Tuesday; however, once organizers saw that more people were hoping to get a box of the produce, the Salvation Army decided to extend the distribution into Wednesday, Aguirre said.

“Yesterday, between 12 and 1 … we had a good response and we wanted to just make the community aware that we were doing it again,” Aguirre said. “Today, we had a larger response from the community.”

Aguirre estimated approximately 1,000 people received the boxes between Tuesday and Wednesday. The boxes were filled with 2.5-pound bags of oranges, apples, potatoes, onions and carrots.

Volunteers organized the cars into four lanes in the Salvation Army’s parking lot to try to expedite the distribution.  However, with the line of cars continuing to stretch into the street indicating the community’s ongoing need for food assistance, the Salvation Army is hoping to make the distributions a regular event.

“We’re trying to set something up (so) that we can have weekly distributions at our facility,” Aguirre said.

Anybody is eligible to receive food help from the Salvation Army. “There’s no restrictions,” Aguirre said.