Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tenn. hit by supply chain issues, woman steps up

One woman is stepping up to help make sure East Tennessee stays fed.
Food Banks Hit by Supply Chain Challenges
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 5:52 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Supply chain issues caused problems for Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, and one woman from Maryville is stepping up.

Supply chain issues caused grocery stores and restaurants to donate less food to the bank, and food that the organization would normally buy, is raising in price.

“Typically it would cost us around $600 for an entire truckload of potatoes,” said Rachael Ellis with Second Harvest. “Now it’s running anywhere between $2,000 and $6,000, just to receive the same exact potatoes.”

As food prices rise, so do operating costs for Second Harvest. Ellis said that the organization is facing struggles, but still managing to feed East Tennessee.

“The dollar is still providing three full meals,” she said. “It’s just, we could provide so much more if we didn’t have this supply chain issue.”

Debbie Wellman of Maryville is donating 20 percent of her income to help keep people from going hungry.

“I’ll go without for somebody to have something and that’s the way I’ve always been,” she said.

Wellman has had help in the past, so she knows what it’s like to need a hand.

“You supplement WIC with food stamps, you’re going to run out of food stamps, you know, and not get what you really need which both of them were really great programs, but families still need help.”

Thankfully, Second Harvest already has the holidays covered, but they could still use more donations.

“We ordered everything we needed for Thanksgiving and Christmas in June,” Ellis said. “So we are stocked up and ready to go to take care of anyone who is at risk of hunger.”

Those interested in donating can find a food pantry at this link.

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