Over 2.2 million people attended this year’s Texas State Fair and as construction crews dismantled displays at the fairgrounds, fair trade food vendors lined up to donate their surplus products.
“It’s my happiest day at the State Fair of Texas,” said Christi Erpillo of Fernie’s Funnel Cakes.
Erpillo said Fernie’s Funnel Cakes started donating their extra food just 15 years ago. Since then, the effort has increased to include more vendors in what is now called the State Fair Cares Food Drive.
“We have created an environment where they can drop off their belongings while they clean up the morning after the fair,” said Karissa Condoianis, senior vice president of public relations for State Fair of Texas. “We have organizations that come right after its filing, so it’s fresh.”
This year, seven community organizations in the Fair Park neighborhood were the beneficiaries. Many of them have increased needs since the start of the pandemic.
“We don’t just feed the homeless,” said Reverend Andra Johnson of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Dallas. “We are also feeding families and different people who lost income during this time, lost jobs.”
Some of the items donated included pasta and marinara sauce, sugar, bread and produce.
“We feed people 24 days a year for profit, for money as a business, but now we’re doing it out of the goodness of our hearts and just trying to help them,” Erpillo said. “And we’re seeing, like, tangible results of what we can do when we come together to help the people in Dallas.”