Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and there are many families in our area who can't afford a holiday meal for their family.
On Friday Second Harvest Food Bank had hundreds of volunteers boxing up items for those families in need.
Dozens formed an assembly line at Second Harvest Food Bank and they're all packing boxes for 'Project Thanksgiving'. "You think of all the food you sit down to the table on Thanksgiving day and wonder if everybody is sitting down to this," says volunteer Jo Voigt.
All of the boxes will have food for a family of four on Thanksgiving. Voigt volunteers to fill the boxes every year and she tells us she loves helping others. "If you haven't volunteered you're missing a big opportunity to make others feel good and to make yourself really feel good just knowing that you've helped," adds Voigt.
This year 'Project Thanksgiving' is filling 5,500 boxes for needy families in our area. "Anyone who has called in has been put on a list and then we are sharing those lists with the charities who will be distributing the boxes," says Kathy Smith, communications director for Second Harvest Food Bank.
Each box has more than a dozen items inside like canned vegetables, cookies, and soup so every family in need can have a warm Thanksgiving meal. "It's important that those of us who don't go hungry because we're fighting a big battle here and anything we can do to help is good," adds Voigt.
According to Second Harvest there are more than 100,000 people living in poverty in Northeast Tennessee and as many as one out of four children who aren't guaranteed a meal. Volunteers tell us knowing they are helping a family in need makes it all worthwhile. "It makes a difference in our lives and we feel better knowing we're doing something for those who can't do it," says Voigt.
"We know the smiles are there and the Thanksgiving they are receiving is enough to warm our hearts," adds volunteer Arbed Harding.
Families will also receive a turkey, bread, and a five-pound bag of potatoes when the boxes are delivered.
Second Harvest Food Bank is still accepting donations to help provide needy families with a Thanksgiving meal. You can make donations online at www.netfoodbank.org or by calling WCQR at (423) 477-5676.