NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The state food tax holiday ended Tuesday, Oct. 31. In what was originally just a month-long holiday, Tennessee expanded it to three.
At the time, lawmakers saw the need to cut families a break at the register.
“We’ve been pushing for years,” said Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville). “I’ve introduced legislation in recent years to make fresh fruits and vegetables, at the very least, tax-free. So this is something that we pushed; he introduced on the tail end of some colleagues of mine and ours, pushing for a gas tax holiday…grocery tax holidays.”
The relief came at a time when everything seemingly became more expensive and families were feeling the pressure at check out.
Now, there is a worry that inflation may affect food on the table for thousands. It’s a reality that nonprofits like St. Luke’s Community House are preparing for.
“You know, we’ve been here for years serving people in our food bank,” explained Amy Shurden with St. Luke’s Community House. “As we near the holidays, this important tax relief is ending. We anticipate that our numbers will probably rise starting tomorrow.”
Cans, bags, bread, and other essentials line the entire pantry room. Every year, Shurden said they expect an influx of people needing extra help around the holidays.
“With the cost of every day items on the rise, the holidays are coming up, there’s lots of extra expenses, people just turn to us when they need that extra support, so we’re open four days a week,” explained Shurden.
Now with the tax break ending, some may be looking for another way to supplement costs, and with no signs of inflation letting up, St. Luke’s is preparing for an influx of people needing help.
“The food bank last year, we distributed over 83,000 meals and that was almost double what we had done the year before. So I think as the city grows, the number of people living here grows; the need is increasing,” Shurden said.
St. Luke’s Food Pantry partners with Second Harvest Food Bank to provide food boxes to families and individuals facing food insecurity. The food boxes provide three meals for two days for each person in the household.
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The organization asks people in need of their service to bring photo ID, proof of address, and identification for all household members. The food boxes are available for any resident of Davidson County.
The organization is also looking for volunteers and donations. If you are interested, you can reach out directly to St. Luke’s.