For the third week that fresh produce was given out for free in Sherman, more people responded than space allowed Friday morning.


Sherman Police were called to help clear out traffic on FM 1417 at about 9:42 a.m. The program overseen by MasterKey Ministries and partner Feed My Sheep typically runs from 10 a.m. to noon. It distributes fresh produce to Grayson County residents in need of food, but its operating hours were cut short by the overwhelming response, organizers said.


Sherman Police Sgt. D.M. Hampton said traffic became backed up on FM 1417, and it created a dangerous situation. The program operated out of a truck parked in the lot of MasterKey Ministries located off that roadway and near West Houston Street. Organizers called police, and officers helped clear out traffic.


Crystal Brooks, food coordinator at MasterKey, said they received about 30 people the first week, 85 the second and on Friday it was between 100 and 150 but that number was multiplied with family members present. She said police reportedly turned away 1,000 people as it was more traffic than the area could handle.


Hampton said that area is already congested, so police responded to get traffic moving and avoid a major wreck. In the previous weeks, vehicles would wait along the shoulder of FM 1417.


Brooks said people were parking in nearby businesses, in the grass, across the street and crossing the busy street. Organizers recognized the dangers so next week’s event was canceled, so a solution can be found to better handle the crowd.


“What we’re doing is we’re revamping, and we’re looking at our logistics and how we can help more people,” Brooks said.


Organizers are looking for another location to hold the event scheduled for Feb. 3.