NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Lines out the door at food banks are becoming a common sight as many Middle Tennesseans deal with food insecurity.
Unemployment, especially among the most vulnerable, has led to an increase in the use of food banks. There are also many who are seeking out these services for the first time.
Pam Walden, the Bellevue Community Food Bank coordinator, tells News 2 that they are serving twice as many people in 2020 than they were in 2019. She says flexibility has been the key to keeping up with this demand.
“What we have found is that we have to be very diverse and the way that we’re willing to accept help as a food bank,” Walden said. “In other words, we need to be able to accept donations online. We need to be able to accept them by mail. We need to be able to accept cash. We need to be able to accept gift cards.”
Ladawna Parham, the CEO of Nourish Food Bank, has also noticed a significant uptick in their services needed in Middle Tennesseans.
“So just to kind of put it in perspective, last year in 2019, we served just over 400,000 meals. In 2020, by the time December ends, we will close out at over a million meals,” Parham said.
Earlier in the year, car lines wrapped around the block were common. Longer hours are still the norm at Nourish Food Bank.
“For part of the year, we were running car lines instead of letting people come into the building, and we would have people wrapped around our building, the next building down the street,” Parham said. “And we just kept the doors open and food going for as long as people were in those lines.”
Both Nourish Food Bank and the Bellevue Community Food Bank welcomes donations. You can donate non-perishable goods, your time, or make monetary donations to help those who are struggling. Information on how to volunteer for the Bellevue Community can be found here. You can sign up to volunteer with Nourish Food Bank on their website.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.