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Nonprofit Loses Meat Supply During Power Outage

OurCalling
OurCalling | Image by OurCalling/Facebook

A local nonprofit serving the needy had to throw away hundreds of pounds of meat after last week’s storms knocked out electricity in parts of the metroplex.

OurCalling lost electricity service at its facility in Dallas during the severe thunderstorms that swept across North Texas early Tuesday morning. The power was finally restored late Thursday evening, but by then, much of its frozen food contained in an outdoor freezer had thawed.

“This is our walk-in freezer where we store pallets of meat,” Wayne Walker, CEO of OurCalling, told Fox 4 KDFW. “The water is from everything thawed out. So all that meat is spoiled a lot of it has had to be thrown away.”

Ali Hendricksen, a spokesperson for OurCalling, estimated that at least $1,400 worth of meat had to be thrown out.

The loss of the food hit hard, as the nonprofit feeds between 300 to 500 homeless individuals each day in Dallas, in addition to others they serve across the county through outreach programs. Still, the organization continued its work despite the added challenges.

“We already work with people experiencing a hard time, living on the streets and so for us, we’re working in a hard time, trying to care for people living in hard time,” Walker said, per Fox 4. “We have not stopped any of our services, even with loss of power. We’ve figured out ways to be able to care for our neighbors in the parking lot and let them in the last few days with flashlights.”

On Friday, a food truck powered by generators came to feed the crowd gathered at OurCalling.

In addition to providing food for the homeless population, the organization also helps its clients find more stable housing.

“If you think the damage is bad at someone’s house, imagine you’re sleeping in a tent in the woods,” Walker said in reference to the destruction wreaked by the May 28 storm. “Rather than give someone another tent, we would rather get them off the street. Last year, we helped people exit homelessness almost 1,400 times.”

Hendricksen expressed appreciation for all the volunteers and staff who “continued to come and to sweat” despite having to work without lights and air conditioning during the power outage. She invites anyone who would like to donate money or gently worn clothes or to volunteer their time to call 214-444-8796 or visit the organization’s website.

Polling suggests that more than two-thirds of Dallas residents believe homelessness, vagrancy, and aggressive panhandling are “major” problems. Surveyed residents also appear to support the “one-stop-shop” homeless services model used by Haven for Hope in San Antonio. The model has been credited with a 77% reduction in unsheltered homelessness in the city’s center.

Some local stakeholders want to try such a model in Dallas. However, it is unclear whether City officials will consider the solution.

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