KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — The Shepherd of Hope Food Pantry in Farragut said they are experiencing a high demand for Thanksgiving meals, compared to previous years.
Renee Stone, director of the pantry, said requests for holiday meals have more than doubled. She said the rising prices for groceries, rent and gas have led families to look for alternate options this season.
"We are starting to see an increase in the number of people that are visiting the pantry," she said. "And that demand this past month looks like it's doubled."
On Monday, the pantry is planning on giving away more Thanksgiving baskets at their 225 Jamestowne Boulevard location. These baskets include holiday staples like green beans, cranberry sauce, muffins as well as macaroni and cheese. They also include a gift card that allows families to purchase their choice of turkey and produce.
The pantry has increased its number of baskets as they expect a large turnout.
"We also have purchased additional inventory to create more baskets if we happen to run out of those. There's also a hallway that's full of baskets as well," she said.
Usually, they prepare up to 70 baskets for families. This year, they prepared 122 baskets. In collaboration with Knox County Schools, the pantry is also helping students in need.
"And we had approximately 100 families that came through and received the Thanksgiving dinner baskets," she said.
The pantry said they are more than halfway through distributing those.
Along with the Shepherd of Hope Food Pantry, Redemption Church in North Knoxville will be giving away over 200 Thanksgiving boxes that include a turkey.
They said they are also expecting a large turnout due to rising prices. The boxes are first-come, first-serve as supplies are limited. The distribution event goes from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.