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Second Harvest Food Bank preps for holidays, needs help ahead of Thanksgiving

For months, Second Harvest has provided a record number of emergency food to families. This year, the non-profit doesn't have some holiday meals readily available

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Thanksgiving is around the corner! This year, more families are relying on Second Harvest of East Tennessee

The non-profit is facing some added challenges this season. 

First, when the pandemic began in March, the amount food that they normally distribute doubled almost overnight. 

For months, the non-profit has provided a record number of emergency food to families in their 18 county service area.

Executive Director Elaine Streno of Second Harvest said some of the holiday meals that they normally distribute are not readily available in bulk due to the strain on the national supply chain. 

"We're struggling with things that we want to supply to our partners," Streno said. "The next two weeks will be very busy. This week especially." 

Also, staff and volunteers are distributing food differently this year. 

Instead of gathering together, they're distributing the food in boxes. 

"There's not that fellowship that people yearn for. Many of us have just struggled with being lonely," Streno said. "We're trying to give them what they need, but also make the holidays special with the dressing and all of that. That's just been hard to get."

Additionally, volunteer staff in the warehouse is limited after at least one person tested positive for COVID-19 several weeks ago. 

With all of the challenges, there are many ways you can still help. For more information, about donating or volunteering click here.