With each Tyson Foods truck delivery, we have asked our local partners to tell the story of hunger in their state and showcase the good work of volunteers and donors. On Monday, October 4, we delivered a truckload to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee in Nashville. Here is their story:
“We have seen people in tears at the mobile pantries, so thankful for food. I have heard people with master’s degrees say that they never thought they would need free food.” – Anthony Crow, Pastor, Silver Point Baptist Church Putnam County Tennessee
The face of hunger in Tennessee looks like your neighbor, your child’s best friend, the woman who gives you your coffee at Starbucks in the morning, and the man selling newspapers by your office every day. It could be the coworker you sat next to who was laid off last month or the new mother at the doctor’s office you saw last week. Hunger impacts one in six Tennesseans, and with those numbers, it is likely you’ve seen someone today who will be going hungry tonight.
In Tennessee, the numbers are what drive us to meet a need that continues to rise each year. One in five children in the state are at risk for hunger. In Middle Tennessee alone, Second Harvest Food Bank provides more than 213,000 emergency food boxes annually. The need for food assistance has risen 36% over the past five years. Of those receiving services from Second Harvest Food Bank, 32% of them have had to choose between purchasing food and paying for medicine.
And the one number that is most important to us, what drives our staff and volunteers and supporters every day, the number that means we have done everything that can be done, the only number that is acceptable in the state of Tennessee is ZERO. Zero families having to choose between paying the mortgage and placing food on the table. Zero seniors wondering where their next meal will come from after they’ve had to spend their monthly social security check on medicine and utility bills. Zero children coming to school underfed and starved for nutrition because there was little or no food for them over the weekend. Zero mothers and fathers going without dinner so their kids will not have to go to bed with an empty stomach. Zero hungry people in the state of Tennessee.
It is reprehensible that anyone in a country with such abundance of resources should not have enough food to eat. In our state, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, along with four other Feeding America food banks work with hundreds of community food partners across Tennessee to distribute meals to those who are in need. It is a task that takes many individuals, organizations and local businesses to accomplish. This support from the communities we serve helps us take larger, stronger, faster steps toward that goal of zero.
The truckload of food donated from Tyson is a huge step forward in feeding so many families in our state. Donations of nutritious protein are often difficult to come by and are especially important for children who are still growing and need the nutrients for proper physical and mental development.
We are grateful for the support of everyone who donated a digital can during the “We Can End This” campaign and for the initiative of Cause Shift and Tyson Foods to make hunger relief a priority across the country.
On behalf of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, the thousands of children, seniors, families and individuals we serve, THANK YOU for making a difference in the fight against hunger!
“Times are tough. I’ve been unemployed for over a year. Even though I wish I didn’t need help, I do. I have a grandson to feed, and it’s wonderful to have support from Second Harvest.”
- Mary R., Lewis County Mobile Pantry