Open Arms Food Pantry is still in great need of both food and monetary donations.
By Charlotte Underwood
JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Due to an increase in unemployment from the COVID-19 pandemic, Open Arms Food Pantry is still in great need of both food and monetary donations. Volunteers said the public has been amazing in helping with donations, but the need is continuing to hold steady and even grow. Terri Phillips with the pantry said they are seeing hundreds more people needing food from the pantry.
“There is such a need for help right now; everyone is just doing the best they can with the situation at hand,” Phillips said.
The pantry usually serves over 1,000 hungry Campbell Countians each month, but that number has increased by more than 300 per month since March. Last month the non-profit served 1,400-plus people. Volunteers said they were seeing “larger families” coming in and that many were reporting having trouble accessing unemployment or stimulus funds or that now with the kids out of school, they just “were not getting enough in food stamps to make ends meet.” According to Phillips, many elderly go to the pantry for food and depend upon that to have enough money to purchase medications. These numbers are up as well.
During the Corona Virus outbreak, all Open Arms Ministry volunteers are practicing social distancing and are sanitizing the area about every 30 minutes.
According to Open Arms volunteers, the pantry’s surplus of supplies is still lower than usual. Foods needed include non-perishables, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits and perishables as well.
Pantry volunteers said they would love to have more donations from local farmers and appreciate the farmers that do donate. Food recipients are “thrilled” with fresh produce.
“Whether it’s a bushel or a handful, it helps,” Phillips said.
Hours of operation are Mondays and Tuesdays 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Open Arms Ministry.
Food donations must be un-opened and within date. Monetary donations are needed as well to pay utilities and other bills for the non-profit. Monetary donations can be made to help with food purchases too. As a non-profit, Open Arms gets a tax discount and also has the ability to buy in bulk. This makes the most of every dollar donated. The pantry is operated by a complete staff of volunteers with no payroll. All donations are tax deductible.
During the Corona Virus outbreak, all volunteers are practicing social distancing and are sanitizing the area about every 30 minutes. The pantry is allowing only two people inside the lobby at a time, and is conducting all paperwork from behind a protective barrier before sending them to the back door to pick-up their boxes of food. Boxes are not being reused. According to staff, they are taking “all precautions” during this time and will continue to do so.
“We’re so thankful for the help and so are all the families coming in for food,” Phillips said.
Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 433, Caryville, TN, 37714. Donations may also be dropped off at the pantry location at 1112 McGhee Lane, Jacksboro, 37757, near the National Guard Armory. For more information, call 423-566-6723 or check them out on Facebook. Hours of operation are Mondays and Tuesdays 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 04/29/2020-6AM)