Margaret, who is in her seventies, helped her husband farm for shares when he was alive. Now she survives on just over $400 a month in Social Security. When she can find the work and her health allows, she cleans houses to supplement her Social Security income. At times, she must choose between food and medications, rent or gas.Margaret’s story is increasingly common throughout the country and throughout Northeast Tennessee.
Feeding America has conducted extensive research on the issue and reported that the number of older adults is projected to increase by 36% over the next decade. They also cite the fact that seniors are more likely to go hungry if they live in a southern state. This finding is the due to the fact that southern states have rural areas with less access to communication and transportation networks than urban/metro areas.
Second Harvest Food Bank is well aware of this situation and has decided to take action through its Mobile Food Pantry program. Bags of healthy, nutritious foods are distributed to needy seniors and families. In fact, Mobile Food Pantry currently assists 470 seniors per month via its 33 sites. For more information on the Mobile Food Pantry program, you may go to the Food Bank’s website or contact Austin Phillips at 423.477.4053, x. 225 or email@example.com.
Because of the giving nature of Northeast Tennessee citizens, the Food Bank is able to serve 38,000 individuals on a monthly basis. We are also able to ensure that more than 4,100 children that are labeled as “chronically hungry” have nutritious food and snacks through our Food for Kids program.
Even though September was Hunger Action Month, we thought that this blog post by Aimee Fortney was still appropriate. The Food Bank greatly appreciates our volunteers and their commitment to service.
The Food Bank began its 5th annual Student Food Drive on October 2, 2012 with a Kick-Off Party for participating students.
Students and Advisors from area high schools have signed up to hold food drives and help raise food to feed people in the region with a food drive that runs from October 2 to November 8. High school students challenge each other to participate in this challenge to receive cash awards based on school population and the amount of pounds of food collected per student.
The Student Food Drive accomplishes two goals – to participate in the immediate effort of collecting food and donating it to the Food Bank; and, to encourage young people to either start or enhance their commitment to volunteer service. The Food Drive develops student leadership by challenging them to raise food, collect money to purchase food, and then find a way to deliver the food to the Food Bank. Last year over 38,000 pounds of food was collected by high school students in the region.
Supporters of the Food Bank are encouraged to support their local school’s efforts. All high schools in the eight-county region that still wish to participate are encouraged to contact the Food Bank at (423)477-4053, x. 224 or firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
The Board of Directors of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee announced at 11 AM on Friday, July 13, 2012 the purchase of a larger warehouse facility to accommodate the region’s critical need for food assistance. The new headquarters is at 1027 Jericho Drive, off of I-81 at Exit 63 and is centrally located for the convenience of the Food Bank’s eight-county service area.
According to Executive Director Rhonda Chafin, the move is a key component of the Food Bank’s strategic plan. “Simply put, the Food Bank has outgrown its current space. In addition, the Food Bank has seen a 52 percent increase since 2007 in the number of households requiring emergency and supplemental food assistance, and the new facility will allow us to ensure that all of our partner agencies can effectively provide nutritious food to our most vulnerable individuals and families. “
Other benefits of the new location are that the Food Bank’s 200 partner agencies will have access to a larger inventory of food product, and the warehouse staff will be better equipped to accommodate the partner agencies. The new facility will allow the organization to save funds by taking advantage of additional donated and purchased food. Also, the new facility will allow for the formation of new programs and services to assist individuals receiving food assistance on a monthly basis.
Some renovations will be needed to equip the new location for operations. A cost-effective building renovation is being planned and includes a combination of in-kind donations and contracted work. The Food Bank plans to secure financial support for these projects through private donations and other funding sources. The relocation will take place sometime during Fiscal Year 2013.
Virtual Town Hall. Please be sure to join us (and invite your supporters) for a virtual town hall to discuss the latest Farm Bill news and talk about what we need to do to ensure the next Farm Bill protects and strengthens programs like TEFAP and SNAP. Join Feeding America, Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, and other special guests on June 18 at 1:30 ET for an interactive conversation about the importance of a strong Farm Bill. Go to http://www.hungeractioncenter.org/vthregistration.aspx for more information.
The Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that guides and authorizes funding for most federal food and farm policies, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Every five years, Congress votes to reauthorize funding the Farm Bill. Anti-hunger advocates and hunger-relief organizations are closely watching this year’s reauthorization debate, as efforts are underway to either drastically cut some programs and/or completely eliminate them.
The most known programs in this debate are the SNAP and Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) - two programs that affect Americans earning below the poverty line. In FY 2011, 45 million Americans received SNAP and 777 million pounds of food was distributed nationally through TEFAP. In the eight county service area of Second Harvest, 99,473 individuals receive SNAP.
The US Senate is the first house of Congress to debate the legislation, and numerous amendments have been offered to either cut or eliminate SNAP and TEFAP. In fact, the Senate recently defeated one such amendment that would have redistributed SNAP funding into block grants and eliminated TEFAP. The amendment was defeated by a solid bi-partisan vote of 65-33. The US House of Representatives is expected to begin debate on these programs on Monday, June 18, 2012.
Urge your members of Congress to support programs such as SNAP and TEFAP that help many Tennesseeans and Americans who earn below the poverty line.