Local nonprofits team up for pop-up food distribution in Bristol, Va.

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BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL)- Three area non-profits teamed up for the first time Thursday night for a pop-up, contactless food distribution at Virginia High School.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, Feeding Southwest Virginia, and United Way of Bristol TN/VA handed out up to 60 pounds of food to each family in need.

“It’s like no other time that I’ve seen in the history of our organization in the 34 years that we’ve served the community,” said Rhonda Chafin, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee’s Executive Director.

Covid-19 has created a greater dependence on area non-profits.

“We do a lot of work together- we share food, we share resources and expertise and now we’re sharing a food distribution,” said Pamela Irvine the President and CEO of Feeding Southwest Virginia.

Federal and state coronavirus programs like the CARES Act, Coronavirus Farmers to Families Program, and the US Department of Agriculture provided meat, fruits and vegetables, dairy products and non-perishables to the non-profits.

“There’s no qualification to get this food. It was issued and given to us to hand out during a disaster,” Irvine said.

Nearly two million pounds of food was given to Tennessee residents through the Emergency Management Association food program.

“It’s food that we have never had before but we see need that we’ve never seen before. people are coming to us that have never asked for food assistance before,” said Chafin.

All of the programs kicking into high gear in uncertain times.

“There’s a great need and we look at unemployment figures right now, particularly during the pandemic disaster and then we know that there’s long-term food insecurity in these communities and so we know that people need extra help,” said Irvine.

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