In Warren County, 12.8 percent of the population is food insecure, meaning they don’t know where they’ll get their next meal. Even more alarming, 22.8 percent of children in Warren County are food insecure.
If those statistics offered by the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee sound unrealistic, think again.
“We offer a soup kitchen twice a week on Mondays and Fridays,” said Helping Hands Ministry of Warren County director Tammy Comfort. “We open at 11:30 a.m. and we seat the first 50. We fill up more often than you would think. A lot of the people who come here aren’t homeless. They’re the working poor and people living off a monthly check. When all you get is $700 or $735 a month, that doesn’t go far after you pay rent. It doesn’t go far at all.”
Comfort says she can see the appreciation in their faces and sometimes those expressions turn into words of thankfulness.
“We have a mother and daughter that come into the soup kitchen,” said Comfort. “She said ‘we have two good meals a week and I want to thank y’all for that.’ The rest of the week they eat bread or crackers or peanut butter, whatever they can find. It touched my heart.”
Along with its Soup Kitchen, the ministry offers additional food in Warren County in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank. Monthly food boxes are provided to individuals enrolled in the program who meet Second Harvest income guidelines.
Enrollment is based on income to help ensure the effort reaches those individuals who are food insecure
Second Harvest reached a milestone this year. It has been feeding the hungry in Middle Tennessee for 40 years. Since 1978, Second Harvest has grown from 160,000-pound operation to distributing over 32 million pounds of food annually across 46 counties in Middle and West Tennessee.
In Warren County, the organization has also partnered with Families in Crisis, Grace Temple Assembly of God, Kids of the Community, and McMinnville-Warren County Senior Center to provide food to those in need.
Helping Hands is a nonprofit charitable organization that has been working with Second Harvest since 2013.
“When people ask us what we need here at Helping Hands, it’s a financial donation,” said Comfort. “We can get food thru Second Harvest to help feed people but we need money to pay our mortgage, electricity, water, or insurance. There are so many bills that come along with giving away food. Most people have no idea. Our insurance alone is $352 a month. Sometimes the bills can be overwhelming.”
The next open-to-the-public mobile food drop is Sept. 22. It begins at 9 a.m. and is offered in the parking lot of 562 Shangri La lane.
For more information or how you can help, call 931-507-9070 or visit Helping Hands Ministry on Facebook or at www.helpinghandsministrytn.org.