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How You can Help At-Risk Kids and Their Families During School Closures

There are always Middle Tennessee children who dread weekends and long school breaks because there isn’t enough food at home. With recent tornadoes and the COVID-19 threat, more people are realizing just how many local kids rely on schools’ free and reduced-price breakfasts and lunches.

One of Second Harvest’s core duties is working with schools to provide food for these kids outside of school hours without stigmatizing them.

Here’s how Second Harvest feeds these kids and families now, and how you can help as we expand and adjust these efforts for the current situation.


Second Harvest’s BackPack program provides easy-to-prepare food for at-risk children on weekends and during school breaks. In a typical week, we provide BackPacks for more than 6,000 hungry children at 68 sites throughout Middle Tennessee.

Through schools we also operate the At-Risk Afterschool Meal Program and Kids Café, two afterschool meal programs for children who don’t have dinner waiting at home.


Last week, anticipating a potential extension of school closures, instead of sending out BackPacks, we worked with school districts to distribute larger boxes of food for the entire family. Now, we’re shifting our attention to the recent news that many schools will stay closed beyond spring break.

Those of you who’ve seen empty shelves at stores this weekend must be wondering how we can pull this off.

At Second Harvest, we have our own supply chain and our own semis. We can even manufacture some food on-site. We’re working with school districts and local, state, and federal officials to find ways to make it easier for schools to distribute meals to displaced students in a safe manner.


The need for food in our community was already high. The economic impact of the tornadoes and COVID-19 will increase that need in the coming weeks and months. Logistically, we can respond to the need. We just need help financially – not just for food, but also to pay our hardworking drivers and warehouse staff, and to fill our trucks with gas.

Please help us get food to children and families during these uncertain times. Right now – with schools around Tennessee closed for weeks – these kids need you more than ever.

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