Here’s how you can help in Tennessee

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The steady rain didn’t stop Church of Christ in La Vergne volunteers from providing food to more than 200 families on Saturday morning through a partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.

“We have a bunch of really dedicated people ready to show up in the rain,” said Second Harvest spokesperson Taylor Loyal.

September is Anti Hunger Month, which draws attention to the tens of millions of Americans who miss meals due to financial hardship. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 42 million people could be food insecure, including 13 million potential children, according to Feeding America.

One in eight Tennessee residents is food insecure, including children. No wonder local volunteers of all ages, clad in ponchos and raincoats, were not put off by the gloomy weather on Saturday as they packed more than 24,000 pounds of food.

La Vergne Church of Christ members Josh Hixson, left, and Katie Waldron help collect food distributed through a mobile pantry through the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee on Saturday September 18, 2021.

Dozens of pallets were stacked with bags of cabbage heads, colorful peppers, carrots, eggs, milk, a range of canned goods, and staples such as peanut butter.

Each mobile pantry is coordinated with a partner agency. Saturday’s Mobile Pantry was sponsored by the General Mills Foundation and distributed by La Vergne Church of Christ. There is enough food to feed families for about two weeks, Loyal said.

“I always tell people: you work here on a Saturday morning,” she added. “But later next week when you dine with your family, think of all the families in our community who dine because of what you do.”

Although Saturday’s Pantry took place in the middle of Hunger Action Month, it is one of more than 250 mobile pantries provided by Second Harvest.

Many hungry people live in food deserts – the nearest grocery store is not easily accessible. Transportation is often an additional challenge.

So Second Harvest meets people where they are.

In 2020, more than 6.6 million pounds of perishable and non-perishable food were delivered through mobile pantries. The program is one of the most effective ways for Second Harvest to deliver food assistance to our rural communities, Loyal said.

Participate in Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee at secondharvestmidtn.org or call 615-329-3491.

Here are a few other nonprofit charities that provide food, shelter, and resources.

In the community:Murfreesboro launches project detailing how streets and places got their names

Feed the food bank

Based in Murfreesboro, Nourish Food Bank provides food to more than 100,000 families in crisis in Rutherford and surrounding counties, said executive director La Dawna Parham.

Nourish Food Bank volunteers load a customer's car with food.

There are three direct service sites, as well as a delivery program that serves low-income families who live in hotels and campgrounds in the area. Nourish is also partnering with Rutherford County Schools for the ATLAS Backpack Program, which provides non-perishable weekend foods to children in crisis.

Only eight people are on staff at Nourish, so the nonprofit relies heavily on volunteers, whom Parham called the “life blood” of the organization.

Nourish prepares to distribute additional food during the holidays. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, families in need receive boxes of holiday food that they prepare at home.

In addition to the food, there is also a big push to connect clients with employment opportunities through a new employment program.

To help fund the Nourish Food Bank programs, there will be a Putt Putt Extravaganza from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Discovery Center in Murfree Spring, 502 SE Broad St. in Murfreesboro.

Enjoy a round of putt-putt golf, scavenger hunts and other activities. Individual tickets cost $ 50 and include tickets for food, wine, and drinks. Group tickets for four are $ 200.

Buy online at nourishfoodbank.ticketspice.com.

To get involved with Nourish Food Bank, visit nourrirfoodbanks.org or call 615-203-3963.

The return trip

Founded in 2006, The Journey Home is a Christian ministry serving the homeless and disadvantaged.

In addition to providing daily hot meals, The Journey Home helps clients learn life skills, improve their health and self-esteem, and find jobs and stable housing. The convenience center at 308 W. Castle St. in Murfreesboro offers hot meals and daily showers, and serves as a hub for services.

To help fund programs, the association will be hosting Pickin ‘at Puckett’s with performances by Jesse Labelle and Jonelle Mosser. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. on September 30 at Puckett’s Grocery, 114 N. Church St. in Murfreesboro.

To learn more about sponsorship information, special seating, VIP tickets, and the reception, contact Lis Couser at [email protected] or 865-278-8757.

To participate in The Journey Home, follow us on Facebook or visit lovegodservepeople.org.

Free meals

Murfreesboro Muslim Youth will organize drive-through meals for families in need in October, November and December, Director Abdou Kattih said.

Asmaa Mohamed distributed packaged meals to families in need as part of a food distribution program through Murfreesboro Muslim Youth, located at 1480 S. Church St.

The non-profit organization recently opened a facility at 1480 S. Church where young people can come together for charity events and community gatherings to benefit those in need.

Families can walk around the building from the left between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on October 15 and 29; November 12 and December 11. The charity will also be providing hundreds of turkey dinners to families in need on Thanksgiving Day.

If you would like to donate or become a meal sponsor, visit MMY on Facebook or murfreesboromuslimyouth.org.

Greenhouse ministries

In the fall of 2020, Greenhouse Ministries inaugurated a new 25,000 square foot facility on South Academy St. in downtown Murfreesboro, which will allow the ministry to expand its services.

The upper level of the building will feature 17 affordable housing units and the lower level will feature an educational kitchen, five multi-purpose classrooms, private counseling offices and much more.

In addition to the new programs, Greenhouse Ministries provides food, clothing and support services to underserved people in Rutherford County.

The Garden Patch Thrift Shoppe will remain in current facilities at 309 S. Spring St in downtown Murfreesboro.

To celebrate the grand opening, Greenhouse will be hosting a street fair in Spring and Academy streets on November 15th. There will be live music, food trucks, street performers, carnival games and building tours.

Tickets cost $ 25 per person and are now on sale on serremin.org.

Contact journalist Nancy DeGennaro at [email protected] Keep up with restaurant news by joining Good Eats in the ‘Boro (and beyond) on Facebook and follow Murfreesboro Eats on TikTok.

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