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The Evolution of Second Harvest’s Feeding Programs in Tennessee

Since our inception, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee has transformed significantly. Instead of the robust hunger fighting organization we know today, Second Harvest was mostly a place to host food drives and then distribute that food. Explore the history and impact of our Feeding Programs, a cornerstone in our ongoing work to nourish our Middle and West Tennessee. 

Our Beginnings and Our Growth: In 1991, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee rocketed hunger relief into a new age with Project Preserve. Born from a partnership with Vietti Foods, we established a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen in Nashville. Initially focused on tomato soup production, Project Preserve now crafts a variety of nutritious meals, showcasing our commitment to diversifying and enhancing food options for those in need.

Innovative Programs for Children: Our feeding programs extended to the younger generation with the introduction of the Kids Cafe in 1992. This initiative offers free meals, snacks, and nutritional education to children facing hunger. It operates throughout the school year and summer, ensuring consistent support. In 2004, the BackPacks program emerged, providing easy-to-prepare food for at-risk children during weekends and school breaks, further bridging the hunger gap.

Expanding Reach with Mobile Pantries: 2006 marked a significant milestone with the launch of Mobile Pantries. These large-scale, one-day distributions play a vital role, having assisted over 138,000 individuals in 2023 alone. Mobile Pantries exemplify our commitment to directly reaching and supporting individuals and families in need.

Innovating for the Future: Listening to our community has led to the inception of two groundbreaking initiatives: Project Grow and The Mobile Market. Project Grow is a two-year agricultural program that goes beyond traditional farming. It’s about community engagement, education, and producing high-quality, nutritious food. The Mobile Market, in contrast, brings essential food items directly to those most affected by food insecurity, offering produce, dairy, and pantry staples.

Conclusion: Our Feeding Programs are tailored to uniquely serve the communities in Middle and West Tennessee. Over the past 46 years, these programs have grown alongside Second Harvest, enabling us to provide vital support to over 353,000 people facing hunger. We invite you to join us in our unwavering mission to feed Middle and West Tennessee, as we look forward to continuing our impactful work.

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