Food bank gifts facilitate new program for food insecure veterans, church to conduct clothing giveaway

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated May 15, 2019 at 9:30 PM

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee is launching a new program for low-income veterans, active military members and military families in need.

Made possible by a $50,000 grant from Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation and a $5,000 gift from BAE Systems Inc., the food bank’s new Veterans Serving Veterans program will be conducted in partnership with veterans service organizations across the region.

Second Harvest Food Bank Executive Director Rhonda Chafin said the program is aimed at assisting nearly 4,000 veterans in the eight counties of Northeast Tennessee that census data shows are living below the federal poverty line.

Looking at those numbers, “We knew that we needed to do something,” Chafin said at Tuesday’s press conference announcing the new program.

Because many veterans do not ask for assistance, the food bank will conduct the new program in partnership with the local veterans organizations. Chafin said those organizations are best positioned to know the veterans, their families and their needs.

The monetary gifts from Food Lion and BAE will be used to purchase food and fuel for the food bank’s mobile pantry trucks to deliver food boxes directly to those veterans and later to pantries to be set up by the veterans organizations.

Groups already on board include Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion. Food deliveries will begin as early as next month

The food bank is recruiting other veteran organizations to join the program and additional financial support to keep it running for the long term.

Veterans and veteran groups may learn more about the program by contacting Chafin or Josie Russell, the food bank’s community relations manager, at 423-279-0430.

Monetary donations to Second Harvest earmarked for “Veterans” may be made online at netfoodbank.org or by mail to 1020 Jericho Drive, Kingsport, TN 37663.

Sinking Creek Baptist Church will host a clothing giveaway Saturday, May 18, at the church located just outside Johnson City at 2313 Elizabethton Highway.

Adult and children’s clothes, shoes and accessories, and small household items will be available at no cost to anyone in need, beginning at 8 a.m.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538, [email protected] or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.


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