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Jaynee Day: Fighting against hunger, food insecurity will take all of us

Jaynee Day • Updated Oct 2, 2018 at 11:00 AM

“I went to bed hungry many nights as a child. It was a dream that dressed me up when I was ragged, and it was a dream that filled me up when I was hungry. Now it’s my dream to see that no child in this world ever goes hungry, certainly not here in America, the most bountiful country in the world. We can do better...we must.” 

It was a while ago when Dolly Parton said those words, but today they still ring true.

And it was 40 years ago when Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee began to help those in need – neighbors who were hungry and didn’t know from where their next meal would come.

Back then, we were a 160,000-pound operation and today with the help of our Partner Agencies, we distribute 31 million pounds of food annually across 46 counties in Middle and West Tennessee.

The “2018 Map the Meal Gap” study found that one-in-eight people in our community, including one-in-five children, face food insecurity, meaning they don’t know where they’ll get their next meal. Here in Wilson County, 12,130 people face this situation every day.

With our Partner Agencies, we’re doing all we can to reduce those numbers.  Even though our main headquarters is in Nashville, our reach goes far beyond the Davidson county line. We’re so fortunate to have 490 agencies that we work with daily to provide nutritious meals and assistance to our fellow neighbors across Middle and West Tennessee. For every dollar we receive, four nutritious meals can be served to those in need.

We’re making tremendous strides to feed the hungry. But we need help. In September every year during “Hunger Action Month,” we shine an extra spotlight on hunger issues and give folks a number of activities where they can get involved.

By volunteering, donating food and money, and joining us in our work, citizens from all walks of life can help us in addressing this pressing need.  There is power in numbers, and by all of us joining together, we can end hunger one meal at a time in our communities.

We hope you will join us as we all follow Dolly’s charge to make sure no child – or no family – ever goes hungry. We will get there, but it’s going to take all of us.

Jaynee Day is president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. To learn more about Second Harvest, “Hunger Action Month,” partner agencies and how to help, visit secondharvestmidtn.org.

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