Nashville group flagged for not providing free meals to kids

Posted at 5:05 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 18:05:03-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A group in Nashville that is supposed to supply free meals to kids who need them is accused of not helping those children.

The Tennessee Comptroller's office flagged New Beginnings Ministries after auditing the group, finding discrepancies in the money spent versus meals provided.

Auditors noted in the report that the organization received $2.2 million in Summer Food Service Program for Children money, a federally funded program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Department of Human Services oversees the funding at the state level. Additionally, the program took $4 million from the Child and Adult Care Food Program, also funded by the USDA. This money came through to the group between 2017 to 2021.

"In the 2020 Single Audit Report, we reported that New Beginnings claimed meals for children on days where we observed no children present," auditors wrote. "In that report, we identified questioned costs totaling $904 for 221 meals that were not served to children on the days we visited the New Beginnings sites."

In 2021, the report noted eight sites auditors visited, locations that the organization claimed meals for, but didn't serve. That total came out to 7,871 meals not served to the total of $43,418 from the two federal programs, according to the audit report.

Additionally, the auditors concluded there was a signature discrepancy when it came to the documentation for one of its feeding sites in 2021.

"It is unclear to us why New Beginnings would have meal count documentation with variations of the signature of the site supervisor’s name," the report stated. "Given the sponsor’s history of claiming children they did not serve based on our site visits, this ambiguity makes us question the validity of the documentation."

The program is run by director Brandon Williams.