Middle Tennessee food pantries offer help amid Coronavirus concerns

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NASHVILLE, Tn. (WKRN) – Food is flying off the shelves at grocery stores with people trying to stock up after government warnings to avoid large groups and stay home, but there are also those who can’t even afford to buy so much food, especially those who were affected by tornadoes weeks ago.

“I think we’re on the tip of the iceberg right now,” Chris Whitney with One Generation Away told News 2, “We’re getting calls all the time now about people needing food and ‘what am I gonna do?'”

He’s not alone.

“I think we’re just at the beginning of this. We served 150 families, 90 in the first 40 minutes yesterday when we opened up here at the food bank,” said Marsha Edwards, CEO of the Martha O’Bryan Center in Nashville.

Tennessee food pantries went into over-drive after tornadoes hit three weeks ago, FEMA set up several locations strictly for those victims.

“We’re seeing people impacted through loss of income, loss of jobs, that started with the tornado, but now it’s been impounded by the virus.”

“Some of these people won’t recover,” Whitney pointed out, “If they miss work for two months, 3 months, it’ll take them a long time to recover.”

Some pantries have shut down amid COVID-19 concerns, but here’s a list of resources for anyone who needs assistance right now:

Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee’s three locations in Davidson, Rutherford, and Bedford counties are still open. In addition to eight emergency food box locations in Davidson and Wilson counties. They are also supporting emergency food distributions at hundreds of partner agencies. You can search for all of these locations to find one near you on their website here.

The Martha O’Bryan Center is one, located in East Nashville, open to anyone in Davidson County. You can find information here.

One Generation Away is also a partner and will be visiting 5 different counties with food in the next month. Find those here.

There are also some local churches like the Dodson Chapel United Methodist Church Food Pantry who will serve anyone in need.

If you are in Kentucky, you can search for a food bank on Feeding America.

These pantries are also asking for help from those who can afford it. Smaller pantries need food and toiletries. Whitney and Edwards say financial donations will go further for their organizations because they are able to buy in bulk with special discounts.

Pantries that are open and organizations that are still serving are also practicing social distancing. Many operating as drive-thrus and loading groceries into your vehicle for you.

If you are offering assistance or food and would like to be added to this article, please email solmos@wkrn.com.

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