(TDA press release) Families faced with food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic are finding relief from food banks, retailers and producers, and there are more donations on the way.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) recently joined representatives from Weigel’s Convenience Stores, Mayfield Dairy, the Randy Davis Memorial Milk Fund, the Tennessee Dairy Promotion Committee, and Tennessee food banks affiliated with Feeding America for donation announcements.
“As many across the state face challenges resulting from this pandemic, we’re seeing community leaders in the food industry step up to address food insecurity,” Commissioner of Agriculture Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “Distributing perishables isn’t easy but when producers, processors, retailers, and food banks work together, fresh, wholesome food gets to where it’s needed most.”
Weigel’s is providing vouchers for 60,000 gallons of milk through Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee and Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee. The Tennessee Dairy Promotion Committee is donating $20,000 for these Second Harvest Food Banks to buy milk. The milk will be purchased from Mayfield Dairy in partnership with the Randy Davis Memorial Milk Drive Fund.
Food companies have also been effective in meeting hunger needs of Tennesseans. Publix Super Market donated chicken and more than 17,600 lbs. of produce and 17,800 lbs. of milk to food banks in East Tennessee. Tyson Foods donated chicken to three Tennessee food banks and helped transport about 15,500 lbs. of food to Helping Hand of Humboldt. And, Sysco donated eight pallets of food to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.
TDA frequently checks in with food producers as all continue to adapt to changes brought on by COVID-19. While food supply has remained strong during the health crisis, there were gaps identified in the supply chain as farmers and companies worked to meet consumer demand. Providing fresh foods and milk to families who are lacking brings relief to both the farming community and families in need.