When Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee was created 46 years ago, we relied on food drives as the main method of gathering food for our neighbors in need. Let’s take a journey back to our early days to see how we have grown.
Before we were Second Harvest, our organization was called the Nashville Coalition for Food Distribution. At that time, we lacked a dedicated space for our operation, and, most importantly, food storage. Working out of the hallways and auditoriums of Carter Lawrence Elementary, the Nashville Coalition for Food Distribution struggled to keep enough food on hand to feed those in need. Also, non-perishable goods as the primary items donated at food drives. While these food items are an essential part of Second Harvest, fresh produce, meat, and dairy products offer nutrition and variety crucial for a balanced diet.
Over the next several years, it became a chief priority for our organization to find a permanent home. In 1985, we moved to 3311 Ambrose Avenue. Here, we had the proper space and refrigeration to take on perishable foods. During this period, News 2 emerged as a significant partner, championing the Food2Families food drives. These drives, a collaboration with schools, not only benefited Second Harvest and their Partner Agencies but also instilled a sense of community and responsibility in the younger generation. A key figure in these drives was Can Man, the News 2 food drive mascot. As our food drives grew, we began to take on more partnerships. Kroger, for example, enhanced the reach and impact of the Food2Families initiative.
In the early 2000s, as Second Harvest grew alongside Nashville, we saw the Nashville sports organizations, such as the Predators, join our mission. Food Drives at Predators, Titans, and Sounds games are a part of the identity of Second Harvest.
As we look back at these collaborations, it’s clear that Second Harvest Food Bank’s food drives were more than just charity events. They were a community movement that brought together people from all walks of life for a common goal: to fight hunger and bring smiles to those in need. These drives remind us that when a community unites for a cause, the impact can be profound and long-lasting.