with Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee joins The Housing Hour this week to discuss the incredible role they play in feeding families in the East Tennessee region. Elaine shares her personal story and how her life drove her passion to help others.
Food For Kids: Second Harvest Food Bank
What is Second Harvest Food Bank?
Second Harvest Food Bank is the East Tennessee region’s largest hunger-relief charity; operating programs in 18 counties. The food bank secures and distributes over 16 million pounds of food and grocery products annually through a network of over 500 partnering non-profit organizations such as food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters and schools.
Why is it needed?
1 in 6 people in East Tennessee lives in poverty and has difficulty meeting basic needs. Among children in our community, 1 in 5 is at-risk of going hungry today. The need among senior citizens continues to rise. In our East Tennessee community an astounding 200,000 people are at-risk of hunger.
How do you get food to the people who need it? We work hard to build partnership with any group that is committed to hunger-relief. Often, this is with other non-profit organizations that operate a local community feeding program or with locations like schools that agree to distribute food for consumption off-site. When these organizations are not available, Second Harvest delivers food directly to clients. Our programs are arranged to reach every demographic in every corner of East Tennessee. For a list of programs click here.
Who are partnering agencies that receive food from Second Harvest?
Partnering Agencies are non-profit organizations dedicated to feeding the hungry and include church pantries, shelters, group homes, soup kitchens, community centers, schools, rehabilitation clinics and many others. Second Harvest acts as a distribution and food-resource center for these organizations, saving them time and money and allowing them to concentrate on their core mission. Organizations like FISH, the Salvation Army, Open Arms, Western Heights, New Life, Community Food Connection, Appalachian Outreach, VMC and hundreds of other non-profits like shelters, pantries, senior center and schools depend on us in order to feed the hungry. On average, more than 75% of all food distributed by a church or a community pantry in East TN, comes from us.
Where does the food come from? About 35% of our product is purchased at the request of non-profit organizations we serve. Items are purchased at bulk rate and at brokered discounts.The majority of food comes from donations of fresh, canned, prepared and packaged items by local grocers, restaurants, manufacturers, distributors and through food drives. This food is often time-sensitive, damaged or seasonal. All donated product must be inspected and often reworked or repackaged. The majority of donated items are delivered directly to other non-profits, for free, through various programs. Shelf-stable product that requires re-work and storage is available for non-profit partners at a rate of 1 to 19 cents per pound. Thats a typical savings of $1.47 per pound verses retail.
How efficient is Second Harvest?
Second Harvest is audited annually and spends 2% of our budget on administrative expenses, 4% on fundraising and 94% on operating our hunger-relief programs. We can provide 3 nutritious meals with every $1 donation. Charity Navigator confirms that 94% of funds are spent on programs. For additional third party evaluation check out GuideStar. Click here to view the latest Annual Report.