COVID-19 Update

UPDATE 05/11/2020 (11:30 a.m.)

When we had to cancel the MAYDAY Radio-thon due to COVID-19, we were worried about the loss and what it would mean for the Food for Kids program, for the children who receive food every week, but like you do every single time we ask for help – you showed up.

You logged online. You donated on Facebook. You picked up the phone and gave us a call. You shared a post with your friends. You encouraged others to support us.

With more than $262,000, you showed up for Second Harvest Food Bank, and more importantly, you showed up for the 12,600+ children that rely on this program, and we hope you feel good to your bones because of it.

From all of us at Second Harvest to this East TN community, thank you.

Although some parts of life are beginning to normalize, the reality for thousands still? Unemployment, children at home and unsure where their next meal is coming from.

Right now, you can help in the fight against hunger by donating here or by volunteering. If you’d like to volunteer, please contact Dylan via email dylan@secondharvestetn.org or 865-243-8238

 

UPDATE 04/29/2020 (3:45 p.m.)

Because we had to cancel the annual MAYDAY due to COVID-19, we are participating in the new #GivingTuesdayNow to fundraise for the Food for Kids program. On Tuesday, May 5, ALL donations will fund Food for Kids. For more information on the event and how to donate visit the event page! Our promotional video for #GivingTuesdayNow is included in tonight’s iHeart Radio concert series featuring Thomas Rhett. The concert will be live streamed tonight (04/29) at 7 p.m. on the iHeart Radio YouTube page.

Our full staff is returning from working from home on Monday, May 4. Cintas is coming to clean the entire facility to ensure a safe return for Second Harvest employees. Drivers are having their body temperature checked each day, and when volunteers are back in the building (starting Monday, May 11) they will wear masks and gloves and have their temperature checked when coming to volunteer.

Youth and Senior Programs Manager, Sam, is working with his current Food for Kids contacts as they are providing him with recommendations on Summer Food for Kids contacts to keeps a smooth transition for the different distributions.

We’d like to send sincere thanks to Publix who is donating more milk this week and to Sysco for donating eight pallets of food including cereal, canned food items and pasta.

Campbell County residents are welcome to attend the Emergency Food Box Mobile Pantry on Thursday, April 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until food is gone) at Charley’s Pizza Parlor in Jacksboro. There will be enough boxes to serve 500 families. Thank you to Reinhart Foodservice Knoxville for the partnership for this distribution!

UPDATE 04/27/2020 (12:10 p.m.)

In the midst of this crisis, food is leaving faster than we have ever seen before. The week of April 13-19, Second Harvest distributed a record amount of food – 467,000 pounds (not including Food Rescue pounds). Nearly half a million pounds of food distributed to 18 counties in East Tennessee in just six days. We do not know how long this volume and incredible need will last, but we know that we will continue to show up for our neighbors. And we are grateful to all of you who have “shown up” for Second Harvest during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pantries and partner agencies are serving record numbers of people, reporting thousands more served per month than usual. Sevier County Food Ministries served 13,000 people in February 2020 and served 16,000 people in March 2020. When you support Second Harvest, you help support pantries in 18 East Tennessee counties, just like Sevier County Food Ministries.

Reinhart Foodservice has been an incredible partner throughout the pandemic by offering food, volunteers and other assistance. Reinhart is also helping with the Mobile Pantry program.  On Thursday of last week, Reinhart and Second Harvest hosted a Mobile Pantry distribution in Knoxville serving 735 families Emergency Food Boxes. Another Mobile Pantry will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Shoney’s in Dandridge (120 Sharon Drive, 37725).

The Senior Outreach program was greatly impacted when the crisis first struck. Because of the program serving an extremely vulnerable population, there was a time when the program had to pause in order to establish safety measures for no contact distribution. Senior Outreach is now keeping pace, and agencies have safety measures to protect the seniors we serve.

Sports & Entertainment Media announced a live stream concert, Music for Meals, to be held May 7. Music for Meals will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. More details on artists and where to watch coming soon!

Grocery partners are continuing to step up in big ways. Big thanks to Publix for donating an entire pallet of chicken on Thursday. Meat donations have been extremely low for Food Rescue, and this donation helps tremendously to stock the freezer!

If you are in need of food assistance at this time, please visit our Pantry Locator to find food pantries in your county. We know the anxiety and stress of this pandemic can be overwhelming, but we want to assure you, Second Harvest remains open, continues to distribute food and is a resource to the 18 counties we serve.

 

If you are able, please join us in the fight against hunger by make a financial contribution. Please, donate online HERE

 

UPDATE 04/24/2020 (9:35 a.m.)

Because of Governor Lee’s announcement expiring the Safer at Home Executive Order on April 30, Second Harvest Food Bank will allow volunteers back in the warehouse beginning Monday, May 11. At that time, we will allow 10 volunteers in one shift, Monday through Friday. There are two shifts each day: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. The group of ten will separate to two smaller groups to comply with social distancing. If you’d like to sign up to volunteer, please email Dylan, or give him a call at (865) 243-8238.

Thanks to donor funds and the support of Reinhart Foodservice, we’ve been able to do more Emergency Food Box Mobile Pantries to serve East Tennesseans in need. From three Mobile Pantries in the past week, more than 2,200 families received Emergency Food Boxes, providing shelf-stable items for two weeks. At some of the Mobile Pantries, families received milk thanks to the Randy Davis Memorial Milk Drive Fund and Mayfield.

Without the community’s support, the Emergency Food Boxes would not be possible. ALL of the food has been purchased for these boxes as food drives, food donations and other free food sourcing has depleted during this crisis because of precautions being taken. Special thanks to The Pilot Company for its $50,000 donation, to Kroger’s Zero Hunger Zero Waste Foundation for its $30,000 donation, to DENSO for its $25,000 donation and to Publix Super Markets Charities for its donation of $7,500 . Thanks to these donations, 540,000 meals will be distributed to East Tennesseans in great need during the pandemic!

With national unemployment now more than 26 million people, it comes as no surprise that the demand for food assistance has grown significantly in the past six weeks, and we cannot meet the need without this community’s help. If you are in a place to contribute financially, please donate now.

If you are in need of food assistance at this time, please visit our Pantry Locator to find food pantries in your county. We know the anxiety and stress of this pandemic can be overwhelming, but we want to assure you, Second Harvest will remain open, will continue to distribute food and will be a resource to the 18 counties we serve.

 

UPDATE 04/20/2020 (4:30 p.m.)

Gratitude can help when times are incredibly uncertain. We are all feeling the weight of this pandemic, and it’s important to ground yourself with gratefulness. Thank you, Mayfield Dairy Farms and the Randy Davis Memorial Milk Drive Fund. Mayfield and Randy Davis Memorial Milk Drive Fund has already made two donations since the COVID-19 crisis began and is now donating 1,600 half gallons of milk every week for the next six weeks. Milk is a special treat to have at Second Harvest, and we are thankful for Mayfield and the Fund’s generosity!

Gray Television, Inc. and WVLT hosted “Singing for Their Supper” on Saturday to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank and partner agency, Sevier County Food Ministries. Thanks to these efforts, more than $35,000 were donated Saturday evening, and we are blown away by the response! Thanks to WVLT, Gray Television and East Tennessee’s donations, more than 110,000 meals can be provided to our community.

Special thanks to Reinhart Foodservice Knoxville for donating their product, truck and staff! Reinhart is providing a truck and a driver to help Second Harvest Food Bank’s Food Rescue program each Tuesday to help keep our routes efficient.

Last month, Second Harvest served nearly 8,000 more people than the food bank served in March 2019 – meaning an additional 100,000 pounds of food left this warehouse. And in just the first three weeks of April, nearly one million pounds of food were distributed in East Tennessee. Just like in the grocery stores, food is flying off the racks at Second Harvest Food Bank.  And we can’t meet the increased need without YOUR help! If you’d like to join us in the fight against hunger, please donate online HERE

If you are in need of food assistance at this time, please visit our Pantry Locator to find food pantries in your county. We know the anxiety and stress of this pandemic can be overwhelming, but we want to assure you, Second Harvest will remain open, will continue to distribute food and will be a resource to the 18 counties we serve.

UPDATE 04/20/2020 (10 a.m.)

If you have seen Second Harvest Food Bank’s drivers around the 18 county service area and have thanked them, waved at them, honked at them or encouraged them in any way – thank you. Our drivers continue to “feel like rockstars” when they are out on the roads during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several school systems Second Harvest serves through Food for Kids are closed for the remainder of the school year. How is Second Harvest adapting to this change? “Thanks to a network of dedicated school partners committed to keeping the Food for Kids program running, the program has experienced little to no interruption related to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the Food for Kids inventory is purchased, is in full supply (currently) at our warehouse and is ready for delivery.  Food for Kids deliveries are made to each Food for Kids school every six weeks. Therefore, our school partners already have the food they need to sustain the program, or they will soon receive the food on their regularly scheduled delivery date. For now, we expect to have the resources to continue receiving, warehousing and delivering Food for Kids food to each of our school partners. As we move forward, our focus will be on potential adjustments to our delivery/distribution model to fit the changing circumstance.” – Sam Compton, Youth and Senior Programs Manager.

If you or your company (or family, church, neighborhood!) would like to support Second Harvest Food Bank but aren’t sure how – consider starting a Virtual Food Drive. The Virtual Food Drive is an easy way to track how many meals you’ve provided and makes it simple to have a competition between friends, neighbors or different departments in the office! Reach out to Lorena if you have any questions.

A Fresh Pantry for Knoxville/Knox County residents will take place on Saturday, May 16, 2020 at Cherokee Health Systems (2018 Western Avenue) starting at 9 a.m. until all food has been distributed.  will be the next Fresh Pantry distribution. More details about this distribution will be available closer to time of distribution.

If you are in need of food assistance at this time, please visit our Pantry Locator to find food pantries in your county. We know the anxiety and stress of this pandemic can be overwhelming, but we want to assure you, Second Harvest will remain open, will continue to distribute food and will be a resource to the 18 counties we serve.

For the foreseeable future, our greatest need will be funding. At this time we are buying more food than ever before. To donate, please click HERE!

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your support. YOU are helping fight hunger and feed hope!

UPDATE 04/15/2020 (5:20 p.m.)

In continued compliance of Gov. Lee’s Executive Order 27, Second Harvest will not have any volunteers in the building through April 30. A decision will be made at the end of the month if we will accept volunteers in May.

Some things made possible recently by generous donors during the COVID-19 crisis:

  • Agency Relations + School Pantry Coordinator, Kristie, and Director of Operations, Rick, traveled to Campbell County yesterday for the School Pantry distribution at Jellico Elementary School. In addition to the food in the School Pantry, 48 Emergency Food Boxes (funded by donors) were distributed to families in need of food assistance – that’s 48 families that now have food in the pantries and dinner on the table because of your support.
  • Emergency Food Boxes were distributed at McGhee Tyson Airport today for employees that are suffering due to how COVID-19 is affecting the airline industry. At this morning’s distribution, 300 families received Emergency Food Boxes, 15 pounds of bacon and 10 pounds of onions. The bacon and onions were donated product, and the Emergency Food Boxes were built by funds donated by supporters.

If you or your company (or family, church, neighborhood!) would like to support Second Harvest Food Bank but aren’t sure how – consider starting a Virtual Food Drive. The Virtual Food Drive is an easy way to track how many meals you’ve provided and makes it simple to have a competition between friends, neighbors or different departments in the office! Reach out to Lorena if you have any questions.

(Virtual) Events supporting Second Harvest Food Bank:

  • Tune in to WVLT (Channel 8)on Saturday, April 18 from 7-8 p.m. Gray Television is hosting a concert to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee and our partner agency, Sevier County Food Ministries. Darius Rucker and other artists will be featured.
  • Ole Smoky Distillery is live streaming a Kaitlyn Bakerconcert Friday, May 8 at 8 p.m. More details can be found by visiting https://www.facebook.com/events/866377087141473/

Wondering what exactly is in the Emergency Food Boxes, and what meals could people really make with the contents? The Emergency Food Boxes contain items from every major food group. They are made with sincere thought into being nutritious and filling. Second Harvest’s Nutrition Access Manager, Courtney, helped decide the items that would be in each box. Courtney recently did a cooking demonstration from her home using items in the Emergency Food Box. If you received an Emergency Food Box, or if you have staples in your pantry that you’re unsure what to do with, be sure to check out Second Harvest’s most recent YouTube video for the recipe! 

For the foreseeable future, our greatest need will be funding. At this time, we are buying more food than ever before. To donate: click HERE!

If you are in need of food assistance at this time, please visit ourPantry Locatorto find food pantries in your county. We know the anxiety and stress of this pandemic can be overwhelming, but we want to assure you, Second Harvest will remain open, will continue to distribute food and will be a resource to the 18 counties we serve. Second Harvest does not take its responsibility to East Tennesseans lightly, especially in this national emergency. We thank you for your support.

 

UPDATE 04/13/2020 (6:30 p.m.)
Thursday, March 12 Gov. Lee declared a state of emergency for Tennessee. On March 30, Gov. Lee issued a “Safer at Home” order for the entire state.  The entire month of March was not affected by COVID-19 and decisions made surrounding it; however, in March, more than an additional 13,000 people were served compared to the number of people served in February. The need for hunger-relief services in East Tennessee has grown significantly in just one month.

 

In compliance with Gov. Lee’s Executive Order 27, Second Harvest will have no volunteers through at least the end of April. Updates will come as Second Harvest follows the direction of Gov. Lee.

Thankfully, Second Harvest has had incredible support from donors, supporters and the community. Special and sincere thanks to:

  • Jeff Bezos and Feeding America for the gift of $492,468.
  • Tyler Roy AKA The Vol Piper: He has played his bagpipe all around Knoxville for a few weeks now, and thanks to his efforts in raising awareness and fundraising, he has raised more than $10,000 so far! Make sure to follow him on Facebook to see if he’ll be playing in your neighborhood soon.
  • Our Food Rescue partners: Food Rescue poundage has dropped in the past month (likely to the stores being sold out of many items); however, today Food Rescue picked up an entire pallet of meat – a MASSIVE jump compared to the last few weeks. Food Rescue is starting to slowly show signs of increased donated product.

So many of our agencies, schools and community partners are working hard to maintain distributing food during these uncertain times. We are so happy and grateful to report that all 12 School Pantries are operating and doing modified distributions. All districts and principals have given approval, and they are so grateful for the food for their families! The schools are building boxes with the food being delivered for April. Orders for these pantries are double in size, as they are seeing (most of them) double the number of families. Many families are experiencing job loss and great need.

If you are in need of food assistance at this time, please visit our Pantry Locator to find food pantries in your county. We know the anxiety and stress of this pandemic can be overwhelming, but we want to assure you, Second Harvest will remain open, will continue to distribute food and will be a resource to the 18 counties we serve. Second Harvest does not take its responsibility to East Tennesseans lightly, especially in this national emergency. We thank you for your support.

 

UPDATE 04/08/2020 (3:45 p.m.)
To find meals provided by schools in East Tennessee, visit http://schoolfoodfinder.com/, select Tennessee and then enter your address.

 

UPDATE 04/03/2020 (12:40 p.m.)
In full compliance with Governor Lee’s executive order issued Thursday, April 2, as well as for the safety and health of Second Harvest staff, agencies and clients, all volunteer opportunities Saturday, April 4 through Thursday, April 30 are postponed. In order to still meet the increased need of partner agencies and East Tennesseans, Second Harvest is hiring five temporary staff members to pack Emergency Food Boxes eight hours per day. This process allows Second Harvest to continue meeting the need in East Tennessee with consistent, reliable staff members while practicing social distancing and doing our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

 

After April 30, regular volunteer shifts may resume, but at this time, it is to be determined. It was not easy to come to this decision, as volunteers are some of the best assets Second Harvest has. We are grateful for the volunteer support, but we want to be sure we are socially responsible and can continue to show up in the best way for our clients and pantries who are in great need during these unprecedented times.

 

If you are scheduled to volunteer any of these dates, we thank you for your volunteerism – Tennessee is the Volunteer State after all. And we hope to have you in our warehouse soon!

 

UPDATE 04/02/2020 (9:45 a.m.)
On the news this morning, it was released that 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, a record high in recent years. It’s an unprecedented time in our collective history.

 

With that statistic, it means thousands of East Tennesseans are navigating food pantry lines, clicking through government assistance websites and making calls to Second Harvest for the first time – seeking information on how to get help for their family.

 

This information is for ANYONE who is needing food assistance at this time. Thanks to the Tennessee Justice Center for sharing all of this information for Second Harvest to provide to East Tennesseans seeking assistance right now. You can visit the Tennessee Justice Center’s COVID-19 specific page for more resources by clicking HERE. Right now, anyone who applies for SNAP, will receive the maximum amount. You can apply online for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in Tennessee by clicking HERE! SNAP provides you with food at the grocery store in conjuction with pantries you can also visit. If you need help applying for SNAP, please reach out to the Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC) and ask to speak with Alice Allen for assistance. The telephone number is 865-524-2786. Alice can also be reached via email if that is more convenient for you.

 

For the first time EVER, WIC (Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children) is able to complete phone interviews.  Information can be found at www.signupwic.com or by calling 1-800-DIAL-WIC.

 

 

If you live in Grainger County, there is a Mobile Pantry on Friday, April 3 at Canaanland/Crusade Field- across from Washburn School. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the drive-thru distribution begins at 10 a.m. It will be first come, first serve basis with the goal to feed 300 families. If you live in Knoxville/Knox County, you are eligible to attend the Fresh Pantry THIS Saturday, April 4 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Cherokee Health Systems (2018 Western Avenue in Knoxville).

 

We hope this additional information can help you and your family while trudging through new, unknown times.We know the anxiety and stress of this pandemic can be overwhelming. You can always find a food pantry in your area by visitingsecondharvestetn.org/find-a-food-pantry/. Second Harvest will remain open, will continue to distribute food and will be a resource to the 18 counties we serve. Second Harvest does not take its responsibility to East Tennesseans lightly, especially in this national emergency. We thank you for your support.

 

 

UPDATE 03/31/2020 (5:10 p.m.)

From the bottom of our hearts, we are incredibly grateful for the immense support we have received from the public, corporations and everyone in between. This community is extraordinary, and YOU are truly making a difference in uncertain times! We know the anxiety and stress of this pandemic can be overwhelming, but we are so thankful for the continued support of this community.

Some good news is always a pleasure to share, and we have special thank you message for Cruze Farm and the Air National Guard.

First, special thanks to Cruze Farm! Cruze Farm donated 52 gallons of fresh, local milk to help families in East TN. Milk is oftentimes skipped when people are cutting grocery budgets, and it is such a treat to receive a quality product from a Knoxville-area dairy farm! Thank you Cruze Farm for donating to the food bank during the COVID-19 crisis.

Second Harvest would also like to thank the Air National Guard. The Guard also reached out recently and is donating 21 brand new backpacks for use for the Food for Kids program.

If you are healthy and able, please consider volunteering to pack Emergency Food Boxes at the warehouse by contacting Dylan via email or by phone (865) 243-8238. When the thermometers arrive, Second Harvest will take visitor and volunteer temperatures when they arrive in the building. All visitors and volunteers are currently required to fill out a screening questionnaire upon entry, and their temperature will be noted on the document. Any visitor or volunteer with any cold/flu symptoms or with an elevated temperature will be asked to leave. We are grateful for the support, but we want to be sure we are being responsible and can continue to show up for our clients and pantries.

 

For the foreseeable future, our greatest need will be funding. At this time we are buying more food than ever before. To donate: click HERE!

If you are in need of food assistance, find a food pantry in your area by visiting secondharvestetn.org/find-a-food-pantry/.

If you live in Grainger County, there is a Mobile Pantry on Friday, April 3 at Canaanland/Crusade Field- across from Washburn School. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the drive-thru distribution begins at 10 a.m. It will be first come, first serve basis with the goal to feed 300 families. If you live in Knoxville/Knox County, you are eligible to attend the Fresh Pantry THIS Saturday, April 4 from 9 a.m. to noon at Cherokee Health Systems (2018 Western Avenue in Knoxville).

UPDATE 03/30/2020 (4 p.m.) 

Over the past couple of weeks, so much has changed. We are all navigating new territory. And some of that new territory means East Tennesseans visiting a food pantry for the first time in their lives.

Thanks to our donors, volunteers and partners, Second Harvest is here to alleviate the stress and anxiety that comes when you open the pantry and find nothing to make your next meal.

At the beginning the COVID-19 crisis, several Senior Outreach partners suspended operations temporarily in order to best protect the seniors they serve; however, the Senior Outreach program is recovering as agencies are becoming more comfortable with adjusting their distribution to the “knock and drop” concept. This distribution limits direct contact with the seniors served, but allows Second Harvest to continue distributing food to the senior population in East Tennessee.

More good news- Mast General Store launched “Gift Cards for Good”. This program allows customers to purchase a gift card (to be used online), and 20% of the total amount on the gift card will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank.

If you’ve ever wondered the impact volunteers make at Second Harvest Food Bank, on Friday and Saturday, more than 1,000 Emergency Food Boxes were packed. These boxes are available for the agencies Second Harvest serves to provide shelf-stable food items to the East Tennesseans they help feed. If you are healthy and able, please consider volunteering to pack these boxes by contacting Dylan via email or by phone (865) 243-8238.

 

More Tennesseans than ever before are having to make difficult choices – which bills to pay and which things to skip. People shouldn’t be without groceries because they’re having to make hard decisions. With Second Harvest and the pantries we serve, we can meet that need. If you are in a position to help financially, please donate today. And if you are in need of food assistance, find a food pantry in your area by visiting secondharvestetn.org/find-a-food-pantry/.

If you live in Grainger County, there is a Mobile Pantry on Friday, April 3 at Canaanland/Crusade Field- across from Washburn School. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the drive-thru distribution begins at 10 a.m. It will be first come, first serve basis with the goal to feed 300 families.

If you live in Knoxville/Knox County, you are eligible to attend the Fresh Pantry THIS Saturday, April 4 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Cherokee Health Systems (2018 Western Avenue in Knoxville).

UPDATE 03/27/2020 (2 p.m.) 

In one week, Second Harvest’s agencies are seeing a 100% increase in visitors. And all agencies are reporting that new visitors are the bulk of their clients now. People they have never seen are coming for food assistance, and the majority of these new visitors are young families with children. People who have never had to visit a food pantry now find themselves standing in their doors. Unemployment is on the rise, and like everyone else, we don’t know what’s to come.

Although so much is still unknown, we are so grateful to partners, supporters, corporate sponsors, volunteers and everyone in between that are stepping up to help their most vulnerable neighbors.

 

Our drivers have said they feel like “rockstars” and “superheroes” when they are out in the community because SO many people have stopped to thank them, to give them a “social distance high five” and wave and honk when they see them on the roads. It’s strange how the “darkest” times help you to see some of the brightest lights – but it happens. Thank you for encouraging our team! You have no idea the difference that makes when everything feels uncertain, scary and unknown.

 

We’d like to thank our Food Rescue partners that are giving what they can when they can. Sysco donated more than six pallets of great produce which is already being moved to agency partners.  Yassin’s also donated 20 cases of produce today. Because it is perishable, produce  cannot be put in an Emergency Food Box, but having produce available to our agencies makes a world of difference – thank you to ALL Food Rescue partners that have made this possible.

 

A new precaution Second Harvest is taking: Thermometers have been ordered, and we will be taking visitor and volunteer temperatures when they arrive in the building. All visitors and volunteers are currently required to fill out a screening questionnaire upon entry, and their temperature will be noted on the document. Any visitor or volunteer with any cold/flu symptoms or with an elevated temperature will be asked to leave. We are grateful for the support, but we want to be sure we are being responsible and can continue to show up for our clients and pantries.

 

For the foreseeable future, our greatest need will be funding. At this time we are buying more food than ever before. To donate: click HERE! To volunteer: email Dylan to sign up today. Volunteers make a significant impact with their donation of time. To find a food pantry in your county:click HERE!

 

Second Harvest is here as a resource when times are truly unpredictable. We appreciate your support and will continue to keep you updated as things develop. If you can, please make a donation or volunteer your time, and keep checking this page for updates, good news, thanks and everything in between. Thank you! 

 

UPDATE 03/26/2020 (1:45 p.m.) 

With several school systems extending their school closings, we know that so many are worried about the children who receive breakfast and lunch at school and then Food for Kids on Friday afternoons.

When everything feels uncertain, it is comforting to have good news to share.

Thanks to a network of dedicated school partners committed to keeping the Food for Kids program running, the program has experienced little to no interruption related to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the Food for Kids inventory is purchased, is in full supply (currently) at our warehouse and is ready for delivery.  Food for Kids deliveries are made to each Food for Kids school every six weeks. Therefore, our school partners already have the food they need to sustain the program, or they will soon receive the food on their regularly scheduled delivery date. For now, we expect to have the resources to continue receiving, warehousing and delivering Food for Kids food to each of our school partners. As we move forward, our focus will be on potential adjustments to our delivery/distribution model to fit the changing circumstance.

With seniors being one of the most vulnerable groups at risk for COVID-19, we know many people in our community are worried about seniors – especially seniors who already do not leave the house very often.

When everything feels unknown, it is comforting to have good news to share.

Today, in Alcoa, 227 low-income seniors safely received an Emergency Food Box from Second Harvest Food Bank.

When everyone is encouraged to stay home, so many learning the new normal of balancing and trying to figure out how to manage their time, their children’s time and being unsure of what’s to come. Anxiety and panic start to loom overhead.

When everything feels unsettling, it is comforting to have good news to share.

Tyler Roy loves to play the bagpipes. In the past couple of days, he has gone to one neighborhood in Knoxville each day and played songs in the street for people who are stuck at home.  He has a Facebook page to help raise awareness and funds for the food bank.  In a matter of a few days, he has raised $2,000 for Second Harvest. Check out WATE, WBIR and WVLT for the stories they have done about the Vol Piper.

An incredible amount of people are donating, volunteering, advocating, posting about Second Harvest Food Bank on social media, and it’s amazing – and vital right now.

In a typical month, Second Harvest distributes Emergency Food and local pantry information to (on average) 70 people who come in our doors looking for food assistance. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, at least 15 Emergency Food kits have left each day. At that rate, 450 people will seek Emergency Food from Second Harvest in a single month.

The need has grown significantly.

Since Friday, seven partner agencies have received 10,000 pounds of Emergency Food Boxes because the Food Rescue poundage has dropped significantly – 10,000 pounds of purchased food that normally wouldn’t be needed.

It is no secret that Second Harvest needs your support – whether it’s a financial donation, signing up to volunteer or simply spreading the word on our efforts with your friends. We need this community – and it needs us.

For the foreseeable future, our greatest need will be funding. At this time we are buying more food than ever before. To donate: click HERE!

To volunteer: email Dylan to sign up today. Volunteers make a significant impact with their donation of time.

To find a food pantry in your county:click HERE!

Second Harvest is here as a resource when times are truly unpredictable. We appreciate your support and will continue to keep you updated as things develop. If you can, please make a donation or volunteer your time. Check this blog daily for updates. Thank you!
UPDATE 03/25/2020 (3:00 p.m.)

It has become increasingly apparent this week how the need for food assistance in East Tennessee has grown rapidly. More people have called to find a food pantry in their county than ever before, and an increasing number of people have arrived at our doors for emergency food assistance. If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, please visit our Pantry Locator to find a pantry nearest to you.

To continue to protect our warehouse staff, we have implemented a new policy with our agencies who arrive to the warehouse to pick up orders. All agency partners are asked to remain in their vehicles outside of the warehouse until their scheduled appointment time. This policy will lower the number of people in the warehouse at one time and will cut down interactions with staff. Our goal is to keep our staff safe and healthy to prevent disruption to food distribution to this community.

After speaking with our Food Rescue Manager, Ruth, she expressed that she has “never seen our freezer this empty.” Typically, all meat picked up by Food Rescue comes back to the warehouse to be evaluated, sorted and then made available to our agencies. With grocery stores selling out of so many products, especially meat being in high demand, the pounds picked up by food rescue have dropped significantly in the past couple of weeks. We are so grateful to our Food Rescue Partners that are doing everything they can to make any food available to us, and we are in high hopes that we will receive more meat soon. If your organization would like to donate me to the food bank, or you have a connection to someone who could help, please fill out the contact form here.

For the foreseeable future, our greatest need will be funding. At this time we are buying more food than ever before if you are in a position to help financially, you can donate to the COVID-19 response fund here. A donation of $140 can feed a family of four for two weeks. You can be confident that your donation is put to work in the best way $0.95 of every $1 donated goes directly to hunger-relief efforts. We know that times are unpredictable for so many, and we are incredibly grateful for your financial support.

Volunteers are needed to pack Emergency Food Boxes. Email Dylan to sign up today. Volunteers make a significant impact with their donation of time.
(In full compliance with the federal suggestions, volunteers will not be together in a group of more than 10. ALL volunteers will wear gloves at all times. Hand washing and sanitation stations will be in close proximity to all volunteers. All volunteers will fill out a screening questionnaire to be sure they are safe and healthy. In an abundance of caution, any volunteer with any cold/flu symptoms (including seasonal allergies) will be asked to leave. We are grateful for the support, but we want to be sure we are being responsible and can continue to show up for our clients and pantries.)
In uncertain times, food banks are on the front lines operating very much like first responders, and this response is no different. Second Harvest will remain open, will continue to distribute food and will be a resource to the 18 counties we serve. Second Harvest does not take its responsibility to East Tennesseans lightly, especially in this national emergency. We thank you for your support. 
UPDATE 03/24/2020 (12:15 p.m.)
In the past few days, we’ve had a surge in phone calls asking how someone can partner and become a distributing agency. We are humbled and overwhelmed at the amount of support we have received and are extremely grateful for the interest in joining the cause.
At this time, new pantries still have to follow all of the guidelines to become a partner. Second Harvest still has to follow all criteria set by Feeding America which includes inspections, food safety training and operating independently of Second Harvest for 6 months. You can find all the information about becoming a partner here. If any of this changes in the coming days or weeks, we will be sure to post an update. 
Second Harvest currently partners with 550+ nonprofit agencies to distribute food in 18 counties. Even if you can’t become an agency at this time, we encourage you to partner with exisiting agencies. A list of exisiting agencies can be found here.
For everyone across our 18-county service area, life looks different – and that’s an understatement. If you find yourself in a secure place financially, we are in desperate need of funds to purchase product. Our donated products have been depleted, and we are buying more food than ever before. You can donate to the COVID-19 Response Fund here. A donation of $140 can feed a family of four for two weeks. You can be confident that your donation is put to work in the best way $0.95 of every $1 donated goes directly to hunger-relief efforts.
Volunteers are needed to pack Emergency Food Boxes. We are following the CDC guidelines, and groups in one area are kept to 10 people or less. Email Dylan to sign up today.
If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, please visit our Pantry Locator to find a pantry nearest to you.
Second Harvest is here as a resource when times are truly unpredictable. We appreciate your support and will continue to keep you updated as things develop. If you can, please make a donation or volunteer your time. Check this blog daily for updates. Thank you!
UPDATE 03/23/2020 (12:30 p.m.)
It’s safe to say that life in just one week has changed significantly for everyone. Whether it’s the loss of a job or working remotely 100% of the time, day-to-day life has changed quickly. 
For our agencies, it means more visitors to their food pantries than ever before. Some agencies are seeing an increase of more than 60%. It is an understatement to say the need has grown rapidly and significantly. Our agency partners are ordering twice as much food as in previous times.
Our greatest need right now is funding. Donated funds equip Second Harvest to purchase more food to meet the increased need and demand. To donate now, cick HERE! A $35 donation can feed one person for 2 weeks; $140 can feed a family of four for two weeks. You can be confident that your donation is put to work in the best way – $0.95 of every $1 donated goes directly to hunger-relief efforts.
Some precautions Second Harvest Food Bank is taking to protect employees and clients:
  • All volunteer groups are being kept to 10 or less in one area. All volunteers are wearing gloves at all times and are filling out a screening questionnaire before volunteering. Any volunteer that does not appear to be in excellent health is being asked to leave. If you are healthy and would like to volunteer to pack Emergency Food Boxes, reach out to Dylan via email or by phone at (865) 243-8238.
  • Drivers are riding solo in the cab of the trucks when making deliveries. Any team member assisting with the delivery is riding in a separate vehicle. Masks and gloves are made available to drivers and staff members.
  • Staggering of staff members has been implemented. The schedules vary by department and anyone who has the ability can work remotely. Our ultimate goal is to keep our staff healthy to make sure there is little to no disruption in the distribution of food to people who are in need of our hunger-relief services at this time. 
If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance during this time, please visit our Pantry Locator.
From the bottom of our hearts, we are so grateful for ALL the support we have received so far. YOU are truly making a difference in uncertain times! We know the anxiety and stress of this pandemic can be overwhelming, but we are so thankful for the continued support of this community.
UPDATE 03/20/2020 (11 a.m.)

The COVID-19 crisis is an ever-changing situation. We are grieving for so many that are finding themselves in stressful and worrisome times. In just one week, unemployment claims have tripled in Tennessee More food is leaving the warehouse than we have ever seen before. 

A financial contribution is the most efficient and effective way to support East Tennesseans who utilize Second Harvest’s services. Second Harvest is purchasing food to replenish the warehouse to best prepare the agencies and communities we serve. With the additional purchases, our financial resources are in great need. If you find yourself in a position to contribute financially, Second Harvest, the agencies we serve and your neighbors will be extremely grateful.

Donating $140 provides a 2 week supply of Emergency Food Boxes for a family of four. A $35 donation feeds one person for 2 weeks. Visit the COVID-19 donate page to make your impact today!

If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, please visit our Pantry Locator to find a pantry nearest to you.

UPDATE 03/19/2020 (12:30 p.m.)
It’s no secret that we are all navigating a situation that is unprecedented. More Tennesseans are applying for unemployment than ever before, and food is leaving our warehouse like we have never witnessed.
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On this first day of Spring, it’s more apparent now than ever, hunger has no season. We know that even our most loyal supporters are finding themselves in uncertain times financially.
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For everyone across our service area, life looks different – and that’s an understatement. If you find yourself on more solid grounds financially right now, we are in desperate need of funds to purchase product. Our donated products have been depleted, and we are buying more food than ever before.
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Just $140 can feed a family of four for 2 weeks. You can also be sure that your donated funds go straight to work. As always, $0.95 of every $1 donated goes directly to hunger-relief efforts. DONATE NOW!
We have gotten several questions about the Food for Kids program and where children are receiving meals that typically receive them free/reduced at school. We want to assure you that these children haven’t been forgotten. Several counties in our service area are offering grab-and-go breakfast and lunch to its students and the other counties are working on final arrangements. We are also SO proud and grateful for our Food for Kids partners. Schools, agencies, teachers, churches and community members are stepping up to continue the distribution of Food for Kids items to children who normally receive them.
UPDATE 03/18/2020 (12 p.m.)
At this time, purchasing food to build Emergency Food Boxes is the food bank’s primary focus. Donating $140 provides a 2 week supply of Emergency Food Boxes for a family of four. A $35 donation feeds one person for 2 weeks.
 
Visit the COVID-19 donate page to make your impact today!
 
Volunteers are needed to pack these boxes. We are following the CDC guidelines, and groups in one area are kept to 10 people or less. Email Dylan to sign up today.
UPDATE 03/17/2020:
We want to assure you that Second Harvest is tracking updates daily. We are continuing to follow guidelines and suggestions from the Federal Government, the CDC, our national affiliate, Feeding America and local government agencies as well. Our Leadership Team and Communications employees are meeting every day to re-evaluate, create additional plans and decide how to move forward in these times that are ever-changing.
In uncertain times, food banks are on the front lines operating very much like first responders, and this response is no different. Second Harvest will remain open, will continue to distribute food and will be a resource to the 18 counties we serve. Second Harvest does not take its responsibility to East Tennesseans lightly, especially in this national emergency.
At this time our most urgent needs are:
  • Financial Donations. One $35 donation can make food security possible for one person (adult, child or senior) for two weeks. At this time, there is an increase in Second Harvest having to purchase additional product to meet the need and demand. A financial contribution is the most efficient and effective way to support East Tennesseans who utilize Second Harvest’s services. As we will continuously change our operations based on the evolution of the situation, innovative solutions will be needed. Donations can be made online now at secondharvestetn.org/covid19.
  • Volunteers: We are in urgent need of Emergency Food Box packing at the warehouse. If you are able to volunteer, please reach out to Dylan. You can also give him a call at 865-243-8238. (In full compliance with the federal suggestions, volunteers will not be together in a group of more than 10. ALL volunteers will wear gloves at all times. Hand washing and sanitation stations will be in close proximity to all volunteers. All volunteers will fill out a screening questionnaire to be sure they are safe and healthy. In an abundance of caution, any volunteer with any cold/flu symptoms (including seasonal allergies) will be asked to leave. We are grateful for the support, but we want to be sure we are being responsible and can continue to show up for our clients and pantries.)

Thankfully, only 8 pantries have made the decision to temporarily close. Several others are moving to drive-thru only models with pre-packed boxes to limit contact with others. The response from agencies and school systems has reinforced our belief that we are in the best community. Agencies are ordering twice the amount of their usual orders to accommodate meeting people’s needs for 2 weeks at a time. At this time, we are not looking for additional locations to serve as distribution centers.

Second Harvest is here as a resource when times are truly unpredictable. We appreciate your support and will continue to keep you updated as things develop. If you can, please make a donation or volunteer your time. Check this blog daily for updates. Thank you!

UPDATE 03/16/2020:
News Release
03/16/2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COVID-19 Brings Uncertainty; Second Harvest Here to Respond
As more people will be in need, the food bank prepares
MARYVILLE, Tenn. – During these uncertain times our state and country face due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee is taking action. First and foremost, the health and safety of Second Harvest’s employees, volunteers, visitors and East Tennesseans who visit our partners and agencies is of utmost importance and will remain a priority. Second Harvest is continuing to operate, as there will be an increased need for our services because of an influx in people in need, as well as agencies deciding to temporarily close their doors. Second Harvest Food Bank is following guidelines, updates and developments from our national affiliate, Feeding America, the CDC and Tennessee Department of Health.
At one time, Second Harvest has inventory to operate for three weeks. With increased concern and more people in need, Second Harvest’s resources will deplete faster than ever. With a donation of $35, you can feed one adult, senior or child for two weeks. A financial contribution is the most efficient and effective way to support East Tennesseans who utilize Second Harvest’s services. As we will continuously change our operations based on the evolution of the situation, innovative solutions will be needed. Donations can be made online now at secondharvestetn.org/covid19.
To address safety, sanitation and cleanliness: Second Harvest is proud of how clean the warehouse and facility are on a regular basis; however, cleaning schedules have been increased. Volunteers always wear gloves in the Clean Room, and a mandatory glove policy for all volunteers has been implemented. Volunteers and visitors are also required to fill out a screening questionnaire. Anyone with cold/flu symptoms here to volunteer will be turned away.
Partners and agencies: Second Harvest agencies received a letter March 13 detailing precautions they can take to best serve their clients. The letter also included a sign to hang for people to see as they come to the pantry to prevent the spread of any virus. They were also given the screening questionnaire Second Harvest is using in the case they decide to use something similar. In addition, they were given the COVID-19 information from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). It has also been suggested to agencies to temporarily move to drive-thru distributions to prevent contact and stay consistent with social distancing. Second Harvest’s agencies are being informed regularly; however, a large majority of Second Harvest’s agencies are operated by groups that have now been deemed vulnerable, and many are choosing to temporarily close their doors. Most importantly, Second Harvest will continue to be a safe place for people in need of food in these uncertain times. Emergency Food Boxes are always available at the warehouse for people in need.
As agencies close their doors, Second Harvest is seeking one to two central drop locations in the 18 counties it serves. These locations will serve as temporary distribution points for communities. It is suggested that groups that are NOT considered most vulnerable in these times command these distribution sites. If you have a space/business/facility that could step in as a central drop/distribution site, please fill out the form on Second Harvest’s website: https://secondharvestetn.org/contact/.
Food for Kids: As schools are urged to stay closed beyond the scheduled Spring Break, Second Harvest is aware of the increased concern for children and is also aware that an increasing number of children will be in need of Second Harvest’s assistance; however, ahead of Spring Breaks and anticipated closures, each school was provided with six weeks of inventory (shelf-stable, easy to open food items) in preparation. Second Harvest operates the Food for Kids program in 280 schools in 18 counties. As schools remain closed, Second Harvest will work with its existing school and community contacts to arrange additional food available for pick up at the warehouse or schedule a delivery if/when there is no other option.
Volunteers: The way Second Harvest utilizes volunteers will constantly evolve as the situation changes daily. Please check the COVID-19 blog (https://secondharvestetn.org/blog-post/covid-19-update/) as updates will be posted there as central drop locations are established. Please be patient as Second Harvest takes steps to best utilize volunteered time and resources.
At Second Harvest, we have no doubt that East Tennesseans are special, resilient people who always look out for their neighbors and other people in need. This situation will prove just that. Second Harvest will continue to be here as a resource when times are truly unpredictable. We appreciate your support and will continue to keep you updated as things develop. As the situation evolves, the BEST place to stay up-to-date is on the COVID-19 blog.
About Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, a member of Feeding America, has worked to compassionately feed the hungry since 1982. In FY19, Second Harvest distributed 20 million pounds of food across 18 East Tennessee counties. Through programs and 550+ nonprofit partners, Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee provides food to more than 143,000 children, adults and seniors each month.
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03/13/2020:
In regards to COVID-19, Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee is continuing to closely monitor updates and developments, and we are following the guidance from our national affiliate, Feeding America, CDC and Tennessee Department of Health. The health and safety of Second Harvest’s employees, volunteers, visitors and East Tennesseans who visit our partners and agencies is of utmost importance and will remain a priority.
 
Operations at our warehouse are in full force, and we are taking extensive steps beyond our regular cleaning schedules to ensure cleanliness and safety during these uncertain times. Not only are we taking additional steps in regards to cleaning, we are working quickly to make plans should East Tennesseans face even more difficult times and be unable to leave their homes for an extended period of time. As the situation evolves, we need your help.
 
Volunteer: We are anticipating more people in need of our services in the coming weeks. We will need the help of volunteers to help sort donated product and possibly in the near future, prepare emergency food boxes with enough items for two weeks; however, we ask that if you are sick, have traveled to “hot spots” for the virus within the U.S. or have traveled outside of the country recently, that you do not volunteer. More info HERE!
 
Donate: A financial contribution is the most efficient and effective way to support East Tennesseans who utilize Second Harvest’s services. With just $1, Second Harvest can provide three meals. As we will continuously change our operations based on the evolution of the situation, innovative solutions will be needed. Donate HERE now!
 
We have no doubt that East Tennesseans are special, resilient people who always look out for their neighbors and other people in need. This situation will prove just that. We are East Tennessee Strong, and Second Harvest is here as a resource when times are truly unpredictable. We appreciate your support and will continue to keep you updated as things develop.