San Antonio Food Bank, city leaders recognize anniversary of massive food distribution event amid COVID-19 crisis

Vincent T. Davis

Vincent T. Davis, Staff writer

April 9, 2021Updated: April 9, 2021 4:25 p.m.

Video: San Antonio Express-News

Residents and city leaders joined the San Antonio Food Bank on Friday morning at Traders Village to mark the first anniversary of an event some have called the largest, one-day domestic hunger relief effort in the nation’s history. The long lines of cars at the epic food distribution became an iconic photo that put San Antonio and food insecurity in the national spotlight.

Last year, a record 10,000 cars packed the parking lot and spilled onto the lanes of Loop 410 for miles weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect everyday lives. The vehicles represented 50,000 individuals.

People wait in their cars Thursday, April 9, 2020, at Traders Village for the San Antonio Food Bank to begin food distribution. The need for emergency food aid has exploded in recent weeks due to the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic. The Labor Department said Thursday 6.6 million people applied for first time unemployment benefits.

William Luther, Staff / Staff

City Manager Erik Walsh, District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia and residents who received food at the parking lot helped commemorate the historic distribution event Friday.

Food Bank CEO and president Eric Cooper thanked his staff, workers, volunteers and partners for their response to lessen residents’ struggles during the onset of the pandemic.

“It was the right location for us,” Cooper said, “to meet this unprecedented need. It was a privilege to be here. It was a day we won’t ever forget.”

Rudy Escamilla, Traders Village general manager, said it was good to see how the city worked together to take on the massive event.

“I couldn’t have imagined what we were up against,” he said. “It’s been a ride.”

Vincent T. Davis started at the San Antonio Express-News in 1999 as a part-time City Desk Editorial Assistant working nights and weekends while attending San Antonio College and working on the staff of the campus newspaper, The Ranger. He completed a 3-month fellowship from the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University in 2003 and earned his bachelors degree in communication design from Texas State University in 2006.

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