Blount Co. food bank needs more space

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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A growing number of needy families has packed an East Tennessee food pantry so full of food it's running out of room to keep up with demand.

The Community Food Connection of Blount County got by with its 1,600 square foot facility on East Broadway when it served 2,500 families or fewer.

Not now, though.

"Our client base has just skyrocketed," CFC board president Dean Moss said. "The only thing that we can account it to is the downturn of the economy."

CFC has now served more than 5,300 people the past few months, causing the food pantry to burst at the seams.

"We don't have room to do anything in here," CFC Special Services Director Larry Ladd said. "Space in our primary problem."

Currently, food is piled to the ceiling and crammed into multiple refrigerators.

Community donations haven't made getting food a problem, Ladd said.

CFC now hopes the community will help it find a rent a newer warehouse facility.

"The CFC board did not want to take money from the food account," Ladd told Volunteer TV News.

On a shoe string budget, volunteers covered more than 200 shoe boxes and placed in a various Maryville businesses.

Ladd says the shoe boxes will likely raise more awareness than money, but he still expects them to collect a few thousand dollars.

The building fund will need nearly $20,000 to cover the move, added rent, and extra equipment, according to Ladd.

"That would buy us all the shelving we need, additional rolling carts, and pallet jack. We'd like to have an office," Ladd said.

Residents like Dale Huddleston don't need the pantry's help, but know others who do.

He donated money to the building fund Wednesday night.

"I hope my contribution helps give facilities that will help them distribute food in a more efficient way, and therefore help more people," Huddleston said.

Parking is also a problem.

There's only five parking spots currently, forcing many families to park down the street and cross busy lanes of traffic to get the pantry, Moss said.

Fundraising efforts of generated about $9,000, which is mostly through corporate and other community donations, Ladd said.

CFC is staffed completely by volunteers, he said.

If you'd to help, you send a check to the address below:

Community Food Connection of Blount County
P.O. Box 786
Alcoa, TN 37701
Please Designate: BUILDING FUND

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