‘The demand is much greater than it’s ever been’: Tennessee food banks working to meet needs of community amid coronavirus pandemic

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GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) Tennessee food banks are working to meet the needs of communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Food banks are generally allowed to purchase items at a lower cost than the average consumer in order to provide enough food for families in need, but due to grocery stores experiencing a high demand from shoppers, Tennessee food banks are facing a dilemma.

For more than 30 years, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee is working to end hunger in the eight counties it serves, but now the organization needs your help because more people are asking for help.

“The demand is much greater than it’s ever been,” Community Relations Manager for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee Tracey Edwards said.

Tracey Edwards told Pheben Kassahun that they are meeting families who are needing food for the very first time.

“People who never saw themselves as someone who had to reach out to Second Harvest are now calling us to see where we can get food,” Edwards said.

The food bank has made regular and mobile pantries available.

“We bought 14 tractor trailers full of food on the bases that the community would step up and help us provide food to our community up here in the eight counties of northeast Tennessee,” Edwards said.

“They help us so much with the USDA product,” Executive Director of Greeneville Community Ministries Carmen Ricker said.

Ricker said their number of clients has doubled since the pandemic started.

“Our clientele here runs from 30 to 60 families a day, in that period between 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.,” Ricker said.

Ricker said last month alone, more than 700 families were fed. She said without Second Harvest Food Bank, Greeneville community members will struggle.

“I just can’t see this country having people that are hungry and nobody to help,” Ricker said. “This is why we’re open to do what we can. We won’t get everybody. They won’t be here, but the ones we do know about will get help right here.”

“We care about these people and we’re going to continue to take care of them,” Edwards said.

If you are able to donate, you are asked to make monetary donations. All of the money donated to Second Harvest Food Bank stays in our area.

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