KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- Employee layoffs and furloughs mean local food banks are facing extraordinarily high demand. Second Harvest Food Bank says they’re now in desperate need of monetary donations.
“We are depleting our inventory very quickly,” said executive director Rhonda Chafin.
Second Harvest normally serves around 40,000 people a month. They’re anticipating this number will soon increase to 52,000 and rise into the summer.
“With so many people that have been laid off or lost their jobs, so many folks are calling us that have never requested food assistance before,” said Chafin.
Second Harvest feeds individuals across eight Northeast Tennessee counties. Chafin said the food bank works with 140 other agencies to get meals to the community, and have partnered with new organizations due to need during the pandemic. They’ve also increased distribution to school feeding programs that have popped up around the region in wake of COVID-19 closures.
Chafin says their request to the community right now is for monetary donations only due to health and safety reasons.
“We’re encouraging people not to bring food to Second Harvest or our community agencies, simply because that food could have been in someone’s home that the virus could have come in contact with,” she said.
Donations can be made on the Second Harvest website netfoodbank.org or by calling the food bank at 423-279-0430. Chafin said this is how you can receive food assistance as well if you’re in need.