Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee will host a series of hunger-fighting activities during September to give area residents the opportunity to become involved in the fight against hunger during national Hunger Action Month.
“Our purpose is to engage the community so that they can get involved and speak out about hunger,” Rhonda Chafin, the food bank’s executive director, said. “This is a time when all of us, all 200 food banks in the Feeding America network, come together.”
Through the network, Chafin said, anyone anywhere can visit www.hungeraction.org and type in their ZIP code to access a log of daily activities that will make a difference for the one in six Americans facing hunger, Chafin said. And, whether it’s wearing an orange ribbon for hunger awareness, volunteering at a food bank or packing a sack lunch and passing along the money that would have been spent on lunch to help someone in need, everyone can make a difference.
To bring local residents together in the fight against hunger, Second Harvest’s roster of Hunger Action Month events will begin Sept. 6 with a Hunger Forum to at the food bank’s new facility at 1027 Jericho Drive, Kingsport, just off Interstate 81. The forum will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will focus on senior and childhood hunger in Northeast Tennessee. The panel of speakers will include Randy Hensley, executive director of Coalition for Kids in Johnson City, and a national representative of AARP.
From 5:30-7 p.m. on Sept. 6, the food bank will host a Regional Chamber After Hours party at its new facility featuring a live performance by Nashville recording artist and Kingsport native Austin Moody. The party is open to all local Chamber of Commerce members, who are asked to RSVP by calling the food bank.
On Sept. 11, the food bank will host a 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance at its current location at 127 Dillon Court in Gray. Chafin invited everyone to come and spend a part of their day volunteering at the food bank at any time between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.
On Sept.13, the Blackthorn Club at The Ridges golf course in Gray will host the The Farmer & The Chef, an annual “farm-to-table” benefit featuring locally grown produce prepared by some of the Tri-Cities’ most celebrated chefs. Chafin said James Allen, the Blackthorn Club’s own master chef, will be among the featured chefs and will be preparing a blueberry bread pudding made with Scott’s Farms blueberries, farm fresh eggs and mulberry goat cheese from the Ziegenwald Dairy in Gate City, Va.
Other featured chefs and famers will include Chef Mickey Rhoton of the Yong Asian House in Gray, Chef Michelle Rueter of Earth Fare, Jeff and Jolene Stratton of Chapo’s Chile Patch in Jonesborough, Gabe and Charity Hinkley of The Good Fork Farm in Fall Branch and Laura Fitzgerald of Lil’ Sprouts in Gray. Tickets are $75 and table sponsorships are available. For reservations or more information, call the food bank.
On Sept. 17, the food bank will kick off its 2012-13 Food for Kids distribution of backpack-size packages of nutritious snacks and entrees that are sent home every other weekend with 4,100 children at 135 area schools who do not have enough to eat at home. The program is always in need of volunteers and child sponsors and Chafin said it is the food bank’s hope many area residents will find Hunger Action Month an opportune time to give Food for Kids their support.
“It costs $93 to sponsor a child for the entire school year,” she said.
On Sept. 24, food bank supporters will return to The Ridges for the annual Second Harvest Golf Classic. Tee times will be at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The registration fee is $150 per golfer or $600 for a four-person team. Sponsorships are $100 for a cart, $300 for a tee box sign, and $1,000 for a Gold Sponsorship that includes a four-person team and tee box sign and a listing in all the tournament’s printed materials.
Second Harvest’s annual Drive for Food Convoy from Bristol Motor Speedway to destinations across the eight counties of Northeast Tennessee will be held Sept. 27, beginning at 9 a.m. at the race track. The annual awareness drive wraps up the local food bank’s Hunger Action Month activities and also serve as a kickoff of its holiday food drive season.
For tickets, reservations or more information about the Hunger Action Month activities or to help the 38,000 people in Northeast Tennessee who receive food monthly from the 200 local pantries and feeding programs assisted by Second Harvest, call the food bank at 477-4053 or visit www.netfoodbank.org or hungeractionmonth.org.