Right now, there are roughly 200, 000 residents of East Tennessee struggling with hunger. In fact, one in four kids in the region is at risk for hunger and one in seven adults faces that same challenge. Yet, a single dollar donated to the Second Harvest Foodbank of East Tennessee can provide three full meals!
With programs designed and organized to reach everyone in the region, the Foodbank covers more than 8,000 square miles and 18 counties. They do it all through food and financial donations received from grocery stores, corporate sponsors, individuals and community food drives. Second Harvest then counts on volunteers to sort, assess and then package food in the warehouse, and from there it is distributed to more than 550 area agencies. These can include churches, shelters, and food pantries, among other settings.
A Heartfelt Mission
The mission of Second Harvest Foodbank of East Tennessee is simple: to lead the community in the fight to end hunger. Today, the organization is the biggest of its kind in the entire region and it distributes more than 18 million pounds of food each year. It is able to do this through programs carefully designed to fit every demographic and need. Programs include:
- Food for Kids and Summer Food for Kids
- School pantry programs
- Food sourcing programs
- Senior Outreach
- Food rescue (An innovative program designed to gather perishable foods from local stores and restaurants rather than seeing them discarded and wasted)
- Rural route programs
- Mobile pantry programs (Designed to overcome areas without food pantries, the mobile pantries are temporary sites created by tractor trailer deliveries serving as distribution points)
- A Giving Garden (with 25 garden plots where volunteers grow and donate all of the food produced)
- Nutritional education programs
Under the leadership of Executive Direct Elaine Streno, Director of Development Aaron Snukals, and Director of Program Development Greg La Rose, the organization continues to meet its mission. Yet, there are further programs and events that ensure that the region’s hungry continue to receive the supplies so vital to their health and wellness. For instance, the Music Feeds program benefits the Second Harvest Foodbank and many local businesses run benefits on a regular basis.
How to Help
If you are eager to help, you can use many different volunteer and giving options. You can donate food, attend an event, volunteer, or serve as an advocate. The organization also has giving opportunities at the individual and corporate levels, as well as memorial funds and more. If you are eager to participate, you can learn about their many successful programs here.