A new home: Second Harvest loads up trucks for move to Blount County

Cutting the ribbon on the new Second Harvest Food  Pantry facility in Blount County are Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell, Alcoa Mayor Don Mull, Second Harvest Executive Director Elaine Streno, Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor and Blount County Partnership CEO Bryan Daniels.

Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Cutting the ribbon on the new Second Harvest Food Pantry facility in Blount County are Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell, Alcoa Mayor Don Mull, Second Harvest Executive Director Elaine Streno, Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor and Blount County Partnership CEO Bryan Daniels.

The caravan of trucks was an impressive sight.

Knowing that inside those trucks was food for the area’s needy made it even more impressive.

Second Harvest Food Bank trucks lined up at their 20,000 square foot facility on Delaware Avenue in Knoxville and made their way to their new home on Friday, Sept. 9. Second Harvest has relocated its warehouse storage to 136 Harvest Lane in Maryville, boasting a facility of 78,000 square feet.

“This is a milestone for Second Harvest and East Tennessee,” said Elaine Streno, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank. “We are thrilled with the new facility, but there is more work to be done.”

While Second Harvest has raised $4.5 million to date for the new facility and the move, there is still a need for a large freezer-cooler that Streno says will serve the needs of the hungry in East Tennessee for the next 25 years. An additional $1.5 million is needed to buy the freezer for their new home.

“Every day that goes by without the larger freezer-cooler, we are limiting the amount of fresh food we can rescue and redistribute,” said Streno.

Second Harvest serves 18 counties and a 7,700 square mile service area in East Tennessee.

Streno said that with the expanded freezer-cooler, they will be able to feed thousands more hungry people each month. “In the meantime, we’ll be making do with refrigerated trucks” she said.

The executive director said folks at Second Harvest are very grateful to the many businesses, individuals and charitable organizations that have made the move to the larger, better equipped facility possible. “It feels like we are on the last leg of a very long marathon, and we’re hanging in there until the day we have enough money for the freezer-cooler. That is the day we will truly celebrate,” she said.

Streno said September is National Hunger Action Month, and there are three ways to help Second Harvest get the freezer they need. Donations can be made online at secondharvestetn.org, by calling 865-521-0000, or by mailing a check to Second Harvest Attn: Space to Erase Hunger Campaign, 136 Harvest Lane, Maryville TN 37801.

Streno thanked Pepsi Distributing and Denso for loaning vehicles to make it possible to transport the food to the new facility in Blount County.

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