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Food distribution event held Saturday to help people impacted by winter storm

Without power, food spoils. People also have to deal with home repair costs and low wages due to business closures. Many Austinites are struggling to make ends meet.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Energy crews continue to work around the clock to restore power to all customers in the Austin area. While thousands of people have gotten their power restored, others haven't been so lucky yet.

Local leaders know that without power, food spoils. People are also having to deal with home repair costs and low wages due to business closures. The winter storm this week left many struggling to get food on the table.

"We want to make sure that no family goes hungry throughout this winter storm and that anyone that needs food has access to it," said Councilwoman Vanessa Fuentes.

On Saturday, city and county leaders, along with the Central Texas Food Bank, held two food distribution events.

"I will say the heartbreaking thing is that we've had cars in line since 6 a.m.," added Fuentes. "This food distribution started at 9 a.m. It's a mile long with cars."

The distribution was held at Onion Creek Soccer Complex on Saturday, Feb. 4th, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The afternoon distribution was from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

Travis County Judge Andy Brown hopes this provided some sort of relief to families. 

"It's horrible that people are having to stay in their houses so long without power," he added. "And so we're trying to do everything we can to make sure that people at least have food while Austin Energy works on getting the power back to them."

As for Austin Energy, KVUE spoke with one Austin Energy crew leader, Forrest Gifford. Gifford said he's working over 16-hour shifts every day. 

"This is what we signed up for," he said. "I try to make sure my wife and my children are taken care of. But it's a strain on us all. All of our families."

Before finishing his sentence, Gifford walked off camera. His eyes were watery. You could tell he was tired, missing home and exhausted from working so many hours.

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