September marks Hunger Action Month in Middle Tennessee
By Kerri Bartlett, Assistant Editor
In September, Second Harvest Food Bank launched Hunger Action Month for the Middle Tennessee region as part of Feeding America’s nationwide campaign.
“The purpose of the campaign is to educate the community on hunger issues in our area and to demonstrate how easy it is to hold food drives,” said Ally Parsons, marketing manager of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.
About one in every six Tennesseans struggle with hunger according to Second Harvest reports.
And statistics show that hunger also exists in Williamson County and could be on the rise.
The percentage of Williamson County families on food stamps rose about 79 percent from 2008 to 2013, according the Tennessee Department of Human Services.
About 4,493 students in Williamson County Schools qualify for free and reduced lunch – about 13 percent of the approximately 34,477 student body population, while about 42 percent of the approximately 3,800 students in FSSD qualify.
About 555 students participated in the GraceWorks Fuel Bag program last year, which provides food for children each weekend, who might not otherwise have it. About 700 children are expected to participate this year.
About 691 families (almost 3,000 people) received Thanksgiving Dinner last year through the United Way sponsor project, “Full Tummies, Warm Hearts.” “We see an increase in the number of baskets needed every year,” said Executive Director of United Way Pam Bryant.
GraceWorks Food Pantry in Franklin is partnering with Second Harvest for the drive so that all donated food towards the Hunger Action campaign in Williamson County will stay in the county.
“Hunger Action month helps us because September is usually a slow month for donations. We start to pick up in October and throughout the holidays. The extra donations in September helps us get over the hump,” said Susan Reagan, food pantry director of GraceWorks.
Area businesses and organizations in Williamson County are participating to help feed the hungry in Williamson County this month. To help or hold a food drive, please see options below:
To support a program that began nationally in the 1980s called Share Our Strength, visit Mellow Mushroom, 317 Main St., Franklin this month. With every purchase of a bruschetta appetizer, the restaurant will donate a dollar to S.O.S.’s No Kid Hungry campaign.These funds are then funneled to food distribution partners like Second Harvest Food Bank and GraceWorks.
United Way is sponsoring, Full Tummies, Warm Hearts in which individuals, churches, organizations, families or businesses can sponsor a family or families in need for Thanksgiving. For more information, visit www.uwwc.org or call 615-771-2312.
Food donations are also needed at other food banks across town such as College Grove Community Food Bank located at College Grove United Methodist Church, 8568 Horton Hwy.College Grove, Tenn. 37046. For more information, call 615-368-7806.
To donate directly to GraceWorks Food Pantry, please call 615-794-9055 or deliveries can be made at 104 Southeast Parkway, Suite 100, Franklin. For more information visit http://graceworksministries.net.
For information about conducting a food drive, please call Courtney Blaise at Second Harvest at 615-627-1625 or contact GraceWorks.
The general public can make food donations at the following locations:
Home Depot, 224 S. Royal Oaks Blvd., Franklin
Any Kroger store
Dollar General stores in the county including the following:
1203 Murfreesboro Rd.,
595 Hillsboro Rd.
1901 Columbia Ave.
2391 Fairview Blvd.
7210 Nolensville Rd.
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Posted on: 9/19/2013