A convoy of tractor-trailers, school buses, and cars gathered outside of Bristol Motor Speedway Thursday morning. It wasn't to race the world's fastest half-mile; it was actually to wrap up September's Hunger Action Month.
It's the thirteenth year that Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee has done a convoy and the need grows every year. This year the food bank is serving a record-breaking number of families who don't know where their next meal is coming from.
One after another, trucks joined traffic on Volunteer Parkway about to start a journey across the Tri-Cities all for a good cause. "When people see the convoy, we want them to stop and say 'I need to do something. I need to help out.'" said Rhonda Chafin, Executive Director of Second Harvest.
When help grows for Second Harvest, it helps programs grow, like the food pantry at Greeneville City Schools. "[Students] come to the pantry. We have it once a month and right now they just get the things we have," said Angelia Rodriguez with Greeneville City Schools.
News 5 learned groups like the Boys and Girls Club of Johnson City and Washington County are seeing another growing problem. "We're noticing that it really is slim pickings sometimes," said Robin Brumley with the Boys and Girls Club.
If you're curious to see just how bad the need is for food in the Tri-Cities, do what News 5 did and head to Second Harvest. It isn't hard to find empty shelves and the food bank is hoping you'll help solve this problem as we head into the holidays. "It's our job because they don't have anywhere else to turn. They don't have the resources, so they depend on Second Harvest for 100 percent of their food needs," added Chafin.
With miles left to drive, there's the hope drivers will want to help families and kids that often go hungry. "It's how [kids] act when they're eating, eating fast, wanting refills, wanting more, just ot being satisfied," said Brumley.
News 5 learned there are three different ways you can help out as winter approaches: You can donate food to local grocery stores putting together and selling food boxes this holiday season, volunteer, or simply donate money to Second Harvest.