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Expanding food bank officially open

By Kyle Benjamin, kbenjamin@wcyb.com
Published On: Dec 12 2013 05:01:22 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 12 2013 11:00:00 PM CST

A regional food bank opens the doors to its new, much larger facility.

KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

It is very common to hear about people who are in need during the holidays -- people are in need of the basic necessities, like clothes, shelter, and food.

In Northeast Tennessee alone many, many people struggle with hunger according to Second Harvest Food Bank Executive Director Rhonda Chafin. "We know we're serving around 40,000 people on the average every month, but what we also know about 74,000 are food-insecure and 100,000 are in poverty in NE Tennessee, "said Chafin

That is 2,000 people shy of a capacity crowd at Neyland Stadium.

Now Second Harvest has a brand new 112,000 square foot facility near Kingsport to help them in the mission to fight hunger. "It also represents the magnitude of hunger and the fact that we need a facility this large gives you a sense for the challenge that hunger is both here and all across America," said Feeding America CEO Bob Aiken, Jr.

According to Aiken, Feeding America has a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks and 61,000 local food pantries, all working towards a common goal. "To help fight hunger for kids, for seniors, for families," said Aiken. "And we're able, working with national donors to find grants to help support the effort to feed kids in this eight-county area."

Hancock, Hawkins,  Carter, Greene, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington are all served by Second Harvest. Second Harvest has expanded significantly to meet the demand. The food bank has passed out 8.8 million pounds of food in 2013, equal to 7.3 million meals.