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Common Food Bank Facts

Common Food Bank Facts

Our mission is to feed the hungry by securing and distributing food and grocery products to regional agencies that provide services to the needy, ill, children and elderly .

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee has led the effort to end hunger in Northeast Tennessee since 1986 and is the only food bank serving the eight-county region incorporating Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties.

Second Harvest’s vision is that no one in Northeast Tennessee will go hungry due to lack of access to food. With the need for emergency food assistance continuing to rise each year, Second Harvest has aggressively dedicated its resources to meeting the increased need. Second Harvest also continuously seeks innovative ways to educate the public about hunger issues in our region.

Poverty in Northeast Tennessee - The most recent (2011) U.S. Census data shows there are 98,292 people (1 out of every 5 residents) living in poverty in Northeast Tennessee (out of a general population of 507,691). Childhood poverty is even more prevalent: more than 1 in 4 children under age 18 (29,474 children) live in poverty in Northeast Tennessee. Census data indicates that three counties in the Food Bank’s service area are among Tennessee’s 20 most impoverished counties (Hancock – 2nd-highest poverty rate, Johnson – 11th-highest poverty rate, and Greene – 16th-highest poverty rate). Five of the eight Northeast Tennessee counties have a higher percentage of persons living below the poverty level than the state of Tennessee.

In Fiscal Year 2014, the Food Bank distributed 10.3 million pounds of food to hungry families and individuals in Northeast Tennessee (equivalent to 8.6 million meals) through its partner agencies, programs and services.   Food is currently provided for an average of 45,000 people per month through Second Harvest Food Bank’s agencies, programs and services, the highest number of people the Food Bank has ever served.

The primary tool utilized by Second Harvest to measure elimination of hunger is pounds of food distributed to the identified food insecure population in our region. Impact and success from our programs and services is measured based on the number of families and individuals served versus the number in need.  Feeding America sets quarterly poundage goals for each county in our service area based on the number of persons in poverty.

Since 2007, Second Harvest has seen a 80% increase in the number of households requiring emergency food assistance.  (An average of 25,000 per month served in 2007 vs. an average of 45,000 per month in 2014.)

In addition to serving our partner agencies, Second Harvest administers programs that directly serve individuals and families at risk for hunger and malnutrition:

  • Second Harvest’s Food for Kids Backpack Program supplies a bag of ready-to-eat meals and snacks for chronically hungry children to take home from school every other weekend. This program served 4,500 children region-wide in all 14 regional school districts during the 2013 – 2014 school year.

  • The Summer Food Service Program served 1,600 unduplicated children at summer feeding sites during summer 2014.

  • The Kids Café™ Program supplies free meals and snacks for non-profit organizations that serve at-risk children in an after-school setting. Twelve Kids Café™ sites serve 600-800 children each week.

  • The School Pantries Program serves 7 distribution sites, and assisted 2,726 families with school aged children at multiple schools region-wide.

  • The Mobile Food Bank delivers food to Second Harvest partner agencies that lack the resources to visit the warehouse in Gray. This program delivered to an average of 12 agencies per month in FY 2013.

  • Second Harvest’s Mobile Food Pantry delivers food directly to people in need of emergency food assistance. This program distributed 1.5 million pounds of food in FY 2014 to families and individuals in communities with little or no access to grocery stores, food pantries or soup kitchens.

Second Harvest Food Bank utilizes a large number of volunteers in the areas of food operations (sorting and categorizing donated food), administration (providing clerical and technical help), special events, and programs. Through our programs, volunteers assist with packing and distributing bags and/or boxes on a daily basis.

Second Harvest’s FY14 operational budget is $3,163,975.00

Second Harvest has received the highest 4-star Charity Navigator rating for 7 consecutive years. Only 3% of charities have received this many consecutive 4-star ratings.

·         Program Expenses: 95.4%

·         Administrative & Fundraising Expenses: 4.4%


Second Harvest is committed to meeting the increased need for food by:

·         Increasing food procurement to ensure available food for our agencies and programs.

·         Increasing reach by building capacity with sufficient warehouse space, office facilities, staff, and transportation; and through expansion of existing programs and new initiatives.

·         Mobilizing the public to take action against hunger in our communities.

·         Advocating for changes in public policy focusing on food insecurity and leveraging government resources in order to feed more people in need.

·         Increasing outreach to refer clients to resources food assistance, nutrition and wellness.


Hungry? Find Food.

The Food Bank works with partner agencies to distribute food throughout the area. Find an agency near you that can help.

Virtual Food Drive





Privacy Policy:  We respect your privacy. Second Harvest has a long-standing policy of not selling, trading or distributing the names of our donors.  Second Harvest is firmly committed to maintaining donor privacy.  However, please note that Second Harvest cannot ensure your privacy by other websites linked to this site.

The Feeding America logo is a registered trademark or trademark of Feeding America in the U.S. and certain other countries and is used under license.  Some Second Harvest Food Bank Programs are registered trademarks of Feeding America including: 30 ways in 30 days, BackPack Program, Hunger Action Month, Hunger in America Kids Café, School Pantry, Summer Food and Together we can Solve Hunger.