Every single weekday, Arlington Charities receives shipments of food from our dedicated community partners. On Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s one of those partners is Sam’s Club. Arlington Charities has been picking up donations from Sam’s Club for about a year now. On Wednesday, June 26th, I tagged along with our Warehouse Manager, Duane, on his Sam’s pickup.
Wednesdays start at 7:00 AM when Duane picks up donations from Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB). The two pantries have agreed to conduct the pickup at Azleway Children’s Services because it has a large dock and forklift, making loading much easier. TAFB’s batch then gets unloaded and is used to stock the pantry shelves back at Arlington Charities.
After stocking the shelves for the day, Duane goes to Sam’s club around 9:00 and Costco around 10:00 for additional donations. Food from Costco and Sam’s Club gets loaded into our cooler. Any fresh produce or perishables go to the pantry to be given away that day. Meats that have been frozen already also have to go that day. Sometimes, we get wraps and deli items which our administrative assistant uses for homeless lunches.
Tim and Heather manage the warehouse at Sam’s Club and often help Duane with the pickups. Types and amounts of donations vary from pick up to pick up, but Duane generally expect lots of produce, bakery items, deli meats, bottled waters, and chips. The Sam’s warehouse has a large loading dock that can be used to load up the Arlington Charities truck with towering pallets of food.
Pickups can be very eventful as Duane has built up a rapport with each of our partners and likes to crack jokes. However, the most memorable pickup Duane had is when he got stuck on a slope in an apartment parking lot after attempting to use it to turn the truck around. With the back wheels just three inches off the ground, Duane tried to shove rocks and pieces of board underneath the tires to give them something to catch on to. The escapade ended around three hours later with a heavy-duty tow truck.
The journey to Sam’s Club ended back at Arlington Charities where Duane and a group of strapping volunteers worked on unloading the truck. Each box of food needed to be weighed to keep track of the amount of food donated for our annual report. Finally, boxes were sorted onto dollies by where they needed to go and carted off to their respective spots.
Arlington Charities relies on the generous donations from community partners like Sam’s Club in order to keep our pantry well stocked for our clients every day. However, some attention should also be given to those who make the pick-up and unload these deliveries. It takes a community to provide help and create hope. We are lucky to have partners like Sam’s Club, staff like Duane, and hardworking volunteers in ours.