The Community Food Connection of Blount County will soon have room to grow and places to park.
Bill Phillips, a former Maryville High School teacher/coach turned developer, donated a 2,000 square foot space to the non-profit that organizers said should give them the room they need to better serve the community.
The Community Food Connection of Blount County provides one bag of food to each family that asks for assistance. Families may return after two weeks.
“Thousands of people in Blount County rely on us for food and this new location will allow us to serve our community in a more efficient manner. After months of searching for a larger building, this one fits our needs perfectly. I consider it a God send,” said Dean Moss, president of the Community Food Connection of Blount County.
Larry Ladd, director of special projects for the organization, said the Blount County community has stepped up again to help. The space is part of a commercial complex on Whitecrest Drive adjacent to Rhea’s Diving.
“This week a local developer donated the CFC a building with ample space, plenty of parking and the ability for the CFC to add a garage-type door for deliveries,” Ladd said. “Bill and Gwen Phillips’ donation of a building at 311 Whitecrest Drive made the 10 CFC board members ecstatic.”
Phillips was born and raised in Maryville, taught and coached at Maryville High and was principal at Blount Occupational Center. Since retiring in 1984, he has been a developer.
“We saw this as an opportunity to give back to a community that has given so much to me. I was familiar with the work of this group. They’ve been here a long time and I wanted to help,” he said.
Phillips said that while he and his wife donate to national organizations, they like to do most of their giving locally.
“They came looking for a place to relocate because they needed more space, and I had a space that was empty,” he said. “I had planned to rent it out, but opportunity ran up against need. It seemed like a perfect fit, so I just gave it to them.”
Ladd said the Phillips family is giving the CFC a long-term lease on the space. The new location will have 2,000 square feet and plenty of parking.
Phillips said the building is ready for the new occupants to move in.
“I just remodeled the building and fixed it up. It’s ready for them now,” he said. “They’re going to do a little work before they move in, but I expect it to happen pretty quickly. I’ve already turned it over to them.”
Phillips said his wife, Gwen, was all for helping out the CFC.
“She thought it was a great idea and was all for it,” he said.
The CFC recently started a “shoebox” promotion to raise money to buy a new building and that will continue until the end of this month. The donations in the shoeboxes, along with corporate and individual donations, have helped the CFC reach almost 70 percent of the estimated expenses needed for renovations, to purchase used shelving and cover to moving expenses.
Ladd said other businesses in the community are helping out.
“Ladies Total Fitness helped by running a two-week building donation/food drive campaign in house,” he said. Coming up on March 23 is a promotion by all four Sonic locations in Blount County. From 5 to 8 p.m. Sonic will donate a percentage of their sales to the CFC building fund, Ladd said.
To sign up for assistance, clients are asked to bring a picture form of ID - not their Social security number. A driver's license or green card is acceptable. The CFC can also accept food stamp card numbers. They need to have birth dates and names of every member of the client’s household.
They are currently located at 1402 E. Broadway Ave
Maryville, TN 37804. Mailing address for correspondence and donations:
CFC, P.O. Box 786, Alcoa, TN 37701.
Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. For more information call 865-977-4400.