New-to-Nashville, Volunteering Couple is Making an Impact in their Community
Gini and Tim Hayes are no strangers to service. They had been donating their time to local organizations in Atlanta before relocating to Nashville a year and a half ago to be closer to their children and grandchildren. In an effort to get to know their new town a little better, the retired couple reached out to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to learn about volunteer opportunities.
“We wanted to connect with our new neighbors,” said Gini, a former teacher. “This was a way for us to see the real Nashville, not just the Music City side.”
When the couple learned about the Produce Truck, a then-new program starting up, they jumped on board and have been donating their time to the program ever since.
THE PRODUCE TRUCK
The Produce Truck travels around Davidson County bringing fresh vegetables, fruits, bread, milk, eggs, and other perishable items directly into food-insecure neighborhoods.
At each stop, perishable items are set out like a mini farmers’ market. Each person can fill up two grocery bags. At an average stop, 49 households receive more than 900 pounds of food.
“We have seen so many different parts of the city. Each part having different needs and challenges,” said Tim, who worked as a social worker before retiring from a career in manufacturing. “Each person you meet has a different story too.”
ONE ACTION TURNS TO MANY
On a recent Thursday, there was already a line forming in the parking lot near the Matthew Walker Health Center in north Nashville when the Produce Truck arrived. Gini and Tim were there as well, along with other volunteers, and quickly began helping the Produce Truck Driver set up a tent and tables.
While Tim set out boxes filled with a variety of fresh produce – tomatoes, squash, salad mix, apples, pineapples and fresh herbs, Gini was walking down the line handing clients bags to take their produce home.
“It means a lot,” said Thadd Manning, a first-time client. “When you don’t have much, something like this means a lot.”
With 1 in 8 people in Middle Tennessee facing hunger every day, programs like the Produce Truck can be the difference between having food at home or going hungry for many of our food insecure neighbors.
“Sometimes we will have more than 100 people in line,” said Gini. “The need is great but it’s nice to be able to help.”
Despite being in a new city, Gini and Tim were able to take one action of connecting with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and turned it into on ongoing commitment to help those facing hunger. They encourage others to take that first step too.
“You get so much more out of it than you put in,” said Gini.
September is Hunger Action Month, a time when people across America stand together to fight hunger. It’s a month to take action on the hunger crisis and dedicate ourselves to a solution.
Take action this September and we can end hunger one helping, one action at a time.