‘We’re keeping food out of the landfill and offering a service to our clients’
Since 1978, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee has been an invaluable asset in the efforts to fight food insecurity. Roughly 1 in 8 people in the region faces issues of hunger on a daily basis.
In 2021, by collecting and distributing donated food through partner agencies in 46 counties in Middle and West Tennessee, Second Harvest rescued 7 million pounds of food from area grocery stores and used it to deliver more than 42.5 million meals. These meals were distributed through after-school programs, soup kitchens, mobile pantries, senior meal delivery programs and other nonprofit organizations that focus on feeding the hungry.
As one of the largest food bank programs in the country, Second Harvest is an acknowledged leader in the logistics of collecting and distributing food — but their efforts go even further. While much of the produce and meat products the organization purchases or accepts as donations from grocery stores and distributors is turned around quickly and delivered to client agencies while still usable, Second Harvest saw the need to find a way to preserve and prolong the life of these valuable commodities so they could serve the community throughout the year.
As part of a building expansion in 2003, Second Harvest installed a production kitchen, known in the industry as a “cook/chill facility,” that would allow them to convert donated meats and vegetables into a menu of meal kits that could be frozen and distributed to partner agencies.