Page 90 - Cityview May-June 2017
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partnership] really makes a difference in how much we can supply in food.”
Ladies of Charity orders from Second Harvest once a week, but their pur- chased product from the food bank is supplemented by what Second Harvest provides them free of charge every other week through their Food Rescue program.
The Food Rescue program began in 1992 as the team at Second Harvest recognized food in good condition being wasted in the community. Through
the program, Second Harvest gathers prepared and perishable foods from restaurants, grocery stores and other local sources that might otherwise be tossed and instead distributes it to communities.
“We are able to take as much
as we need of that, and that’s just
free food getting delivered to us to share,” Unbehaun says. “That is an unbelievable community support effort so that grocery stores and restaurants aren’t throwing it away and so the people we serve get a selection that they don’t normally have in their regular food package. It’s a real treat.”
The Innovation of Feeding
As the Food Rescue program celebrated nearly a decade of service, Streno found herself at a Feeding America Conference listening to fellow food banks talk shop about their weekend child feeding programs. “They were started because children were going home on Friday nights and not getting food on the weekends,” she says.
She worked diligently with her
team to implement the Food for Kids program, partnering with public schools in the 18 counties to discreetly provide backpacks filled with healthy, easily prepared foods to children identified
as at risk of hunger. Roughly 11,000 children participate in this program annually.
Robin Rolland, Director at Com- passion Ministries, serving local communities through a host of service programs, says the program opened the eyes of her community in Farragut to the fact that there are many children they hadn’t realized are in need.
“We have 149 kids a week in the two schools we serve, and Second Harvest said absolutely, we can make this happen,” Rolland says. “They brought us food, and we packaged it. Then once a week we dropped them off at the two schools. It’s our community responsibility to take care of them.”
Three days’ notice is all Second Harvest requires to fulfill a need for a community looking to feed hungry children.
Taking the Warehouse on the Road
While much of the organization’s work involves partnering with pantries to feed their constituents, not everyone who falls in the hunger gap has access to a pantry. This conundrum led to the development of the Mobile Pantry pro- gram. Through this innovative program, Second Harvest sells truck loads at low cost to agencies, who then take them to food deserts and outlying counties in order to feed the hungry. The organiza- tions bring the trucks to the community parking lots and allow constituents to select the food they need.
Ten times a year, Rolland and her team of volunteers partner with Second Harvest to bring trailer loads of food
to communities in the Appalachian Mountains. They paper the schools with flyers and arrive on a designated day with a freezer truck, box truck, and a trailer filled to the brim with food and other products, such as school supplies and even makeup. Volunteers spend an entire day setting up a school gymnasium like a grocery store to provide an easy space for families to stretch their budgets.
“We don’t have to turn anyone away. We give $200 to $250 worth of food to each person or family, and we can only do that because Second Harvest walks beside us,” she says.
“When we go into a community with Second Harvest, we’re taking in staple stuff, good foods that have a long shelf
life where people are going to be able
to eat better and eat healthier. It’s an encouragement to them that somebody out there really cares, that there’s an organization out there reaching out trying to help people up in the mountains.”
The concept has been wildly successful and so Second Harvest
began what they call the Rural Route, a similar type of program wherein Second Harvest delivers food to nonprofit organizations that lack the necessary funding or equipment to travel to the food bank.
Senior Outreach
The organization’s newest program is the Senior Outreach Program. It was started just a few years ago, prompted by concerns about grandparents raising their grandchildren while dealing
with the rising cost of healthcare. Second Harvest now collaborates with senior feeding agencies to help on the weekends, as many programs typically only provide assistance during the week.
Volunteers of America Mid-State, which runs Knoxville-Based Maud Booth Gardens—an apartment complex offering affordable housing to seniors— coordinates with Second Harvest
twice a month to help residents stretch their food budget. “It’s a wonderful opportunity,” says Jennifer Conway, Service Coordinator for Volunteers
of America Mid-State. “It’s not only meeting our residents’ needs for food security--which so many seniors struggle with--but it gives our seniors an opportunity to volunteer.”
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