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story.lead_photo.caption Anthony Swift with the Texarkana, Arkansas, Public Works Department stands ready to hand out care packages to residents age 65 or older Monday, March 23, 2020, at City Hall. The city quickly distrubited more than 100 of the packages, which contain canned and dried food, early Monday morning and had to purchase more supplies. Photo by Karl Richter / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Ark. — The city distributed food to residents age 65 or older Monday to help those in need during the coronavirus crisis.

Cars were lined up around the block by 7 a.m. to receive the packages, Parks Manager Adam Dalby said. Public Works Department staffers quickly distributed more than 200 bags containing canned and dried food and other household supplies and had to purchase more items.

The city provided the relief "to alleviate the fear of not being able to acquire items from the stores as people are rushing to buy them out," according to a statement.

"The sheer volume of calls I received from our senior citizens asking for help in locating toiletries and other necessities was frankly overwhelming. We decided we could not turn our back on those requests. Simply put it, was the right thing to do," City Manager Kenny Haskin said.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., people who donated to the effort received a free hot dog lunch. About $4,000 of the $6,000 allocated for care packages has already been spent, Dalby said.

The city may do another care package handout in the future if enough donated supplies are available or more money is allocated from the city budget.

Anyone wishing to donate money or food can contact Public Works at 870-779-4971 or 870-779-4977.

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