New program providing self-heating meals to the homeless

Sue Guinn Legg • Jan 27, 2016 at 9:50 PM

The Johnson City based Hand-of-Hope organization has launched a new Homeless Meals Project to provide self-heating meals to the hundreds of people in Northeast Tennessee who are homeless and living outdoors.

After several years of providing assistance to communities around the world struck by disasters, Hand-of-Hope is concentrating its relief efforts on the Tri-Cities’ unsheltered homeless population.

Jennifer Barnette, director of the new Homeless Meals Project, said HOH is prepared to provide 1,200 self-heating meal kits to area shelters, soup kitchens, social service programs, law enforcement and other agencies that regularly work with the street homeless.

With help from the community and discount pricing from Chef 5 Minutes Meals, the Piney Flats manufacturer of self-heating meals for hikers, Barnette said HOH hopes to double that number by the end of February.

Each of the kits, specially packaged for HOH by the Piney Flats company, contains one of several varieties of Chef 5 Minutes Meals’ self-heating entrees, a granola bar, a carrot cake muffin and a cappuccino drink mix.

While the retail value of the kit is approximately $7, Barnette said the company is generously providing them to the project at a cost of $1.50 each.

HOH delivered the first 25 meal kits to the Haven of Mercy on West Millard Street on Wednesday and Barnette is scheduled to drop off 50 kits at the Johnson City Downtown Day Center today.

HOH is currently reaching out to other homeless service programs here and in Kingsport and plans to gradually extend the program to homeless service agencies across the Tri-Cities.

Barnette said the Northeast Tennessee region is fortunate to have a number of agencies that work with people who are homeless and particularly those who, for many varied reasons, will not come into shelters. HOH’s plan is to partner with those agencies to distribute the meal kits initially, and to later provide the meals to area police forces as well.

For those who wish to help, donations earmarked for the Homeless Meal Project may be made online at the Hand-of-Hope website at http://hand-of-hope.org or by mail to Hand-of-Hope, 904 Sunset Drive, Suite 4A, Johnson City, TN 37604.

Checks should be made payable to United Charitable/Hand-of-Hope and earmarked for Homeless Meals Project. United Charitable is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that administers funding for the local Hand-of-Hope program and other charitable organizations.

More information about the project, Hand of Hope and United Charitable can be found at the Hand-of-Hope website.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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