Rutherford County employees and other local volunteers recently participated in a food-packaging event that provided over 61,000 meals for the food insecure in the community.
The main event took place Saturday, March 26 at Lane Agri-Park. The meals consisted of rice, beans, vegetables, soy proteins, and seasonings.
“This is the second year we were able to host this community outreach event,” said Mayor Bill Ketron. “Things looked a little different this year with COVID-19 protocols in place, but I’m very proud of our teams and the efforts they put forth to assist our local families in need.”
Ketron also expressed his gratitude for the businesses that made the event possible with generous donations, “We are incredibly grateful to Rogers Group, Inc., Blue Water Industries, SRM Concrete, and Wright Brothers Construction for sponsoring this community event. Your generosity, paired with the servant hearts of all of our volunteers, made a huge impact.”
Several local non-profits were the recipients of the food, including the Domestic Violence and Assault Center, Greenhouse Ministries, Mid-Cumberland Meals on Wheels, Nourish Food Bank, Recovery Court, Juvenile Detention, RC Schools Atlas Program, Hope Outpouring, Boys and Girls Club, Selah3, and the Smyrna Senior Center.
“It is very important to us to help those in need right here in our community,” noted Ketron.
It took a great deal of preparation to make the event possible.
Ahead of Saturday’s packaging, Rutherford County’s Facilities Maintenance and Human Resources Departments, as well as the Correctional Work Center set up the packaging stations. A total of 16 high school students from Central Magnet School, Middle Tennessee Christian School, and Providence Christian Academy also helped with preparing items for the event as part of their community service hours requirements.
A total of 132 volunteers participated in the actual food-packaging on Saturday. Eighteen county departments were represented and five County Commissioners (Phil Dodd, Paul Johnson, David Gammon, Rod Key, and Chantho Sourinho) rolled their sleeves up for the cause as well.
Disc Jockey and County Grant Coordinator Tom Covington donated his time and equipment to provide music at the event.
Strict COVID-19 guidelines were followed. All volunteers wore mandatory personal protective equipment as well as additional equipment for sanitary purposes. Before entering the food packing site, all had to visit sanitization stations before suiting up. No food or drink was allowed in the packaging area, and volunteers were spaced six feet apart at their stations.
“We are already looking forward to next year,” said Ketron. “Our goal is to provide 75,000 meals. Now that we have our ‘battle rhythm,’ that’s a very good possibility.”