BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. — As they work to feed families amid the coronavirus crisis, Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee needs help.
According to Executive Director Elaine Streno, the last two weeks have been extremely busy. The non-profit helped serve more than 150,000 families in 18 counties. That's twice the number of families than weeks before. Because of the pandemic, the need is even greater.
“We turn our inventory every three to four weeks,” said Streno. “We don't know what it's going to look like at the end of April, and we don't know what it's going to look like at the end of May.”
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To comply with social distancing recommendations, eight food pantries are temporarily closed. Several others are moving to drive-thru only models with pre-packed boxes to limit contact with others. For seniors, they're taking food boxes to their front doors.
During this difficult time, some East Tennesseans are visiting a food pantry for the very first time. Second Harvest needs help to serve them all.
At Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, a little goes a long way. A $35 donation can feed one person for two weeks, and a $140 donation can feed a family of four.
The non-profit is asking for donations, as more and more families turn to them to put food on the table, but they also need volunteers.
Volunteers form three groups of ten. Each volunteer stays six feet away from the other.
Handwashing and sanitation stations are available. All volunteers will fill out a screening questionnaire to be sure they are safe and healthy.
“We are even considering taking peoples temperatures when they arrive to make sure they don't have a fever or could be carrying the virus,” said Streno. “Everything we've ever done is different.”
Any volunteer with any cold/flu symptoms, including seasonal allergies, will not be able to volunteer.
To give a donation or sign up to volunteer, click here.