Second Harvest collects food for 98,000 meals

Collections doubles last year’s

(l-r) Jaynee Day, president/CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam and Mayor Karl Dean
Photo: Metropolitian Nashville and Davidson County

More than 125,000 pounds of food (enough for 98,000 meals for Davidson County families) was raised for Second Harvest Food Bank by the Metro Government-wide food drive led by Mayor Karl Dean. For the third year, Dean challenged the Governor’s Office to a friendly ‘food fight,’ and this year the trophy returned to the Mayor’s Office.

During a news conference at Second Harvest today, Dean was joined by Gov. Bill Haslam and announced the amount of food raised was double the amount collected last year. Dean also recognized three Metro Government departments for winning the ‘Mayor’s Cup.’ The winner in the general competition among Metro departments was the Circuit Court Clerk office.

In the contest between the Fire Department and Police Department, the Fire Department won by raising 15,492 pounds of food. In the public participation contest between Parks and Recreation, the Nashville Farmers’ Market and the Metro Transit Authority, MTA won after donating 35,755 pounds of food. MTA waged a ‘Stuff the Bus’ campaign to get public bus riders to donate canned goods in exchange for free bus tickets.

“Metro employees went above and beyond this year, doubling last year’s donations, and I could not be more proud of everyone who participated,” Dean said. “I also can’t thank Gov. Haslam and his staff enough for their contributions. Through the Metro food drive and with the help of Second Harvest, we are able to support struggling Tennesseans and bring citywide attention to the issue of hunger. Together, we are helping a lot of families this holiday season.”

Second Harvest will sort the donated food items this week before going out to a variety of food pantries and community centers providing emergency food assistance in Nashville.

“Fifteen percent of Tennessee households were food insecure from 2009 to 2011, according to a government study, and the reality is one hungry household is one too many,” Haslam said. “Second Harvest Food Bank and organizations like it play a critical role in helping families, and I encourage citizens across the Volunteer State to do what you can to help those in need.”

This is the fourth year Metro offices have collected food to help stock the shelves at Second Harvest in advance of the upcoming holiday season. Cans and monetary donations were collected from Nov. 28 to Dec. 14.

Collections were double over last year’s 62,503 pounds of food raised, vastly exceeding the goal of raising 10% more than last year. The Mayor’s Office donated 13,574 pounds of food to win the ‘food fight.’ In last year’s food fight with the Governor’s Office, the Governor’s Office won.

“Hunger doesn’t care about circumstance. We all know people who are struggling in our community,” said Jaynee Day, president/CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. “The continued support from our local and state government will help stock pantries across Middle Tennessee this holiday season, and for that we are eternally grateful.”

The food drive donations will be used to support Second Harvest’s Feeding Hope Challenge to provide 10 million meals for hungry children, seniors and families this holiday season. Demand for services at Second Harvest has increased by 18% over the past year. In Tennessee, one in six adults and one in four children are at risk of hunger. For more information about Second Harvest Food Bank, visit <www.secondharvestmidtn.org> or call 615-329-3491.

The Metro Food Fight is supported by Impact Nashville, a Mayor’s Office initiative to increase volunteerism to address the city’s most pressing needs.