NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — The demand is high but donations at food banks and pantries across the mid-state remain low. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Second Harvest Food Bank says people are having to rely on food banks to eat now more than ever. And volunteers agree.
"I’m a servant at heart so it makes my heart happy when I see them come and get the supplies that they need," said Quanita Thomas.
Rain or shine you can find Thomas and volunteers with Project Connect and First Community Church handing out meals, groceries and supplies.
Thomas says after the March tornado ripped through her North Nashville neighborhood she knew she needed to help.
"A lot of people's houses got torn down and they were homeless and it’s very important for them to come and to get a meal," she said.
Communities are not only feeling the lasting impact of the tornado but are also dealing with the impacts of the months-long COVID-19 pandemic, putting food in high demand.
"This summer has been very difficult for people with the extended summer break for kids and the ongoing unemployment and unemployment that continues to rise," said Ally Parson, Marketing and communications director with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee serves 46 counties all in need of more donations.
"We’re planning for worst-case scenario; we’re strategizing to make sure our clients’ safety first, we’re purchasing more food than ever as donations are down from grocery partners," said Parsons.
Second Harvest has seen the need grow by about 50% through the pandemic and a lot of people are reaching out for the very first time.
And even though it’s hard right now to keep some food on pantry shelves, volunteers say they’re finding a way.
Just $1 can feed a family of four according to the food bank, but if a donation isn't an option, Parsons says they are also in need of volunteers.