KINGSPORT, Tenn. - An organization that aims to help others is getting some help of its own.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee is serving more people than ever and is now needing donations to keep up the fight against hunger in our region.
Ginger Ross wasted no time. She waited two hours to be the first in line at Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee's mobile food pantry's stop in Kingsport. "Usually I'm one of the last people, and by the time I get through, there's not much left," Ross told News 5.
Her vigor might be symbolic of how needed this food bank is for the entire region. "It helps. It helps a lot, especially at the end of the month. That's really where it counts," said James Vaughn, another food recipient.
Executive Director Rhonda Chafin said their need for support has skyrocketed as the hunger gap widens. "Since 2007, we've seen a 57 percent increase in the demand for our services at Second Harvest Food Bank. We're serving children throughout the summer through our bus program through our children [and] 4,600 throughout the year with our backpack program," Chafin said.
At a typical stop, Second Harvest could spend upwards of $1,500 to get a community fed for a month's time. That's why a $50,000 gift from United Healthcare has come at just the right time.
To help meet that growing need, Second Harvest is trying to move in here to a much larger warehouse, but that, too, comes at a price.
Even with a $25,000 donation given Friday morning by Kennamental Foundation for the facility alone, they have a long way to go to move in by this fall. "We're $500,000 dollars from our goal to be able to renovate the entire facility which was a shell, so we're still looking to the community for support," said Chafin.
With an estimated 100,000 people in our region considered food insecure, every dollar not only counts, it's appreciated. "They have no idea how we look forward to this truck pulling in," said Ross.
"This is a lifesaver right here," Vaughn added.
If you would like to donate time or money to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, you can do that on their website.