Army Veteran Finds Help and Hope at Tarrant Area Food Bank – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Frank Castillo is the man in the fridges at the Tarrant Area Food Bank, keeping an eye on the food and counting his time.

“I love everything that has to do with numbers. I have a photographic memory when it comes to numbers. That’s why I like to work here. Everything is numbers. Boxing. Locations. Weights. Everything is numbers, and I love it”, said Castillo, who was so good at algebra led it to a college scholarship.

He missed the opportunity to join the National Guard and then the US Army. He spent eight years in the military before returning to civilian life.

“I’ve had jobs at larger companies, I’ve made very good money with companies. And I’ve never looked forward to working like this one,” said Castillo.

For Castillo, being here is a moment when it comes full circle. He found the Tarrant Area Food Bank a year ago without knowing it would help him turn his life around.

“I didn’t have a job. I started standing in line and getting food for myself because I didn’t have anything to eat. It was very difficult for me to pay my bills,” he said.

In 2020, Castillo’s landscaping business went under. One customer suggested volunteering at a mobile pantry could lift their spirits.

“He found himself in a difficult place. And I suggested to him, ‘Frank, you know what I’m doing, but you don’t, you can do something for someone else, “recalls Castillo’s client Jim Macphearson, the vice president of development at TAFB.

Macphearson did more for Castillo. He gave him an advance on a landscaping job so Castillo could pay his bills. But it was on this first visit to the mobile pantry at Herman Clark Stadium in Fort Worth that he discovered resources to get back on his feet.

When Castillo volunteered, he realized he could get food for himself and his neighbors. Even in desperation, the army veteran pondered ways to help others.

Now, a year later, the 57-year-old works full-time at the Tarrant Area Food Bank. He has a steady paycheck and benefits and a job that will remind him of how far he has come.

“I’ve taken part in Herman Clark’s food drives and it’s very, very important to me,” he paused. “It’s very important to me because I used to stand in line to get food. And now I’m giving it away.”

This is how Castillo describes the man he was then and who he is today.

“A broken down Frank. You would have met a desperate person, “he said. “And then you would have met someone who was grateful because complete strangers came to my aid.”

“He wanted to do things by himself. And I said we’ll do it alone, but you pay it back. And you have such a strong heart, such a strong work ethic. And that’s what we’re looking for in people, ”said Macphearson of the opportunity at TAFB

Castillo will never forget those who helped him, the friendly strangers who drove him on his way.

He encourages others who are in difficult times to go out and do volunteer work. Putting others before yourself can lead to something good.


Army Veteran Finds Help and Hope at Tarrant Area Food Bank