Volunteers hand out food boxes during the Dec. 2 distribution. Hartsville Strong teamed up to deliver almost 1,300 boxes to local families over the last week.

Volunteers with ‘Hartsville Strong’ recently distributed nearly 1,300 boxes of food to the community over two days.

Distributions were held on Dec. 2 and Dec. 7 in Hartsville City Park. The food boxes, which was donated by Break-Thru Nashville, contained milk, meat, cheese, yogurt, butter, eggs, fruits, vegetables among other items.

When the Dec. 2 distribution began, cars made two lines backed up almost to Main Street of people waiting to receive items.

“Abe Zimmerman at the Methodist Church called me and asked if we though this was something Hartsville Strong would want to do,” said Mark Presley, who helped found the non-profit organization.

“We want to give back to the community and they hooked us up.”

Presley also thanked Old Time Express for sending two trucks to pick up the food, which came in pallets, and Jason Holder for allowing the use of the tobacco warehouse for the distribution.

Break-Thru Nashville was formed in 2016 and seeks to “share the love of Jesus in a real and tangible way by educating, mentoring, and providing resources so that individuals can reach their God-given purpose,” according to its website.

“It’s breaking through poverty, breaking through illiteracy, breaking through a negative mind-set that holds people back,” said Joshua Rosales, one of the organization’s leaders.

The group has sent over 200,000 food boxes all across Tennessee, including Murfreesboro, Cookeville, Maryville and Clarksville as well as Hartsville and Lafayette.

The food comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through its Farmers to Family program, which was part of coronavirus relief passed earlier this year. The USDA has purchased over $3.6 billion in food thus far under the program and has distributed over 100 million boxes to food banks, community and faith-based organizations and other nonprofit groups.

“We work with other non-profits and got an opportunity to work with USDA and its food box program,” Rosales added. “It’s been a network of churches and nonprofits.

“It’s helping a lot of people.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or

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