This report appeared in Pegasus News, a Dallas on-line news service:
Traditional Thanksgiving dinner too costly for some North Texans
by Lena Dirbashi
A few Thanksgivings ago, Andre Alston worked as a permanent substitute teacher at Dallas ISD. For years, he taught English, math, science, and reading. But four years ago, the school district decided that his college degree, a two-year associates degree, wasn't enough and laid him off.
It didn't take him long to find another job -- but not without compromise. Alston's new job at Macy's department store was paying him a fraction of how much he got paid as a teacher. Soon, he found himself caught between paying the bills and buying food. "When you get to that point," he said. "You just feel really bad." With no immediate family close by and nobody to turn to, Alston felt weak, overwhelmed, and sad. One day, he was standing at the unemployment office and noticed a flier for the Central Dallas Ministries (CDM). He paid them a visit that changed everything. Alston was finally able to enjoy a happy Thanksgiving.
Central Dallas Ministries, one of more than 300 food pantries in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, is overwhelmed in the weeks leading up to the holidays. The average number of food recipients for 2009 was 4,575 individuals per month at the Ministries, and that number is expected to double during the holidays. The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB), which distributes food to the Ministries and 291 member agencies, doubled its staff and trucks to confront the drastic increase in need.
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To learn more about Central Dallas Ministries go to http://www.centraldallasministries.org/.