In December the members of First United Methodist Church launched "Care Kitchen," serving a free hot meal every Thursday night to anyone who cares to show up. At that time, Pastor Leland Carden and his volunteers announced that their next move would be to bring the Second Harvest Mobile Pantry program to Marshall County.
Tuesday, the mobile pantry made its first visit to Lewisburg. Nearly three dozen volunteers braved chilly March winds to meet the Second Harvest truck at the church's parking lot at 9:15 a.m. and unload 9,000 pounds of food.
People needing free food were lined up around the block by the time the tables were arranged and "shopping" started. They were still going strong two hours later, though the line had shortened somewhat.
Word had been spread through the Human Services Department, the Lewisburg Housing Authority and local churches. Gayle Cook, area manager with Human Services and a member of First United Methodist Church, helped to get everything organized.
"We got it started and at this point we're planning on doing it monthly," Cook says.
Second Harvest sends the first truck for free; the next one will cost $150, but Cook says, "I have faith it (the money) won't be a problem."
Anyone wishing to make a donation, may call the First United Methodist Church office at 359-3919.
Is there really such a need for food in Marshall County? Cook says yes.
"There's a lot of people that have to make choices how they spend their money," she explains. "Food, medicine, rent, utilities -- there's a lot of tough choices having to be made today."
As one of the volunteers is leaving she calls to Cook, "You're a miracle worker!" Cook replies, "No, Second Harvest is. It's just a joy to be able to do it."
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee opened its doors in 1978. Its purpose is to provide a central distribution center for companies, groups and individuals who wish to help provide food for Middle Tennessee's hungry.
Modeled after the first food bank established in Phoenix in the mid 1970s, Second Harvest is designed to collect food that would otherwise be wasted, inspect and sort this food, and distribute it to soup kitchens, pantries and shelters serving the hungry. During the first year, this process resulted in a total distribution of 160,000 pounds of food to 75 member agencies.
Today, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is one of the largest and most comprehensive of more than 200 food banks and food distribution centers nationwide. During the 2006-'07 fiscal year, Second Harvest distributed more than 37.4 million pounds of food to hungry men, women, and children.