One Generation Away Helps Food Insecure

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Food insecurity has exploded during the pandemic. Pre-COVID, One Generation Away would give out 40 boxes of food during one of their mobile food pantries. During the first five months of the pandemic, that number rose to 600 boxes per pantry giveaway. With a desire to serve, Chris and Elaine Whitney, began their non-profit by giving away food to the food insecure from the back of their car in 2013.

While there are more than 24 agencies in Rutherford County that provide food to the food insecure, One Generation Away hopes to grow their program in the county.

“What makes us different is that we bring the food to the people who need it,” said Chris Whitney. “And the rest of the time we rescue food from grocery stores. We have refrigerated trucks to store meat, fruits and vegetables.”

According to www.rescuingleftovercuisine.org, 40% of food gets thrown out every year. This equates to more than 58 billion meals at about $2.79 each.

“It is not a food problem,” said Whitney, “it is a matter of logistics.”

Whitney is always thinking of how to get more food to more people. What began as a project in Franklin, Tennessee where Whitney and his wife collected food that was going to go to waste and took it to families in need has led to giving away 4.5 million meals last year.

“We are building a model that can be duplicated in other places,” said Whitney. “We are already giving out food all over Middle Tennessee and we have gone into three states to give away food during disaster relief.”

The organization works with Second Harvest and Feed America First to get the food where it needs to go. They have no desire to compete with other food pantries but hope to fill in gaps.

COVID-19 has been a real challenge. They used to talk to their clients as they gathered their boxes of food, but now One Generation requires huge parking lots to keep people socially distanced and to serve the massive numbers they are seeing.

At their mobile pantry events, they also work with other hospitals and agencies to help with screenings or give away clothing to women who are going to job interviews.

Those who have received food from the pantry have shared many stories. Food boxes have allowed the elderly on fixed incomes to buy their medicines and feed their pets. And children to eat over the weekend, instead of going hungry. A mobile pantry event in Rutherford County is scheduled for June where 15,000-25,000 pounds of food will be dropped off in a parking lot and volunteers will sort and distribute it all to neighbors in need. See all mobile pantry events here.

“Ninety percent of kids in middle school won’t take a food backpack home,” said Whitney, “but they will take a box. We take emergency food boxes to social workers at the juvenile justice center, too.”

More than anything, One Generation Away wants to be part of the food insecurity solution.

“My goal is to feed one million people in one day,” added Whitney.

Learn more about One Generation Away on their website.

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