KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Thousands of needy East Tennessee families may not get their food deliveries due to flood damage at the Second Harvest Food Bank warehouse in Knoxville.
The damage has put the brakes on food distribution.
Second Harvest has operated from the same building at 922 Delaware Avenue for nearly two decades. It took only two hours for Monday's severe storms and flash flooding to do extensive damage.
Ways to help
The food bank needs donations to pay for cleanup, to replace freezers and coolers and make needed repairs.
Donate on the Second Harvest website or send a check by mail to: Second Harvest, 922 Delaware Ave., Knoxville, TN 37921.
Eat out this week in Knoxville at select restaurants and money will donated Second Harvest.
Home Federal Bank branches are accepting donations.
AARP of Tennessee is also collecting donations at the Knoxville News Sentinel Women Today expo. It's at the Knoxville Convention Center Friday, March 4 through Sunday, March 6. The hours are: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Make donations at a Roane County ice cream social fundraiser. Cash and checks will be accepted on Saturday, March 5 from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the Market Street Fountain, 1000 Ladd Landing Boulevard. It's sponsored by the Roane County Democratic Party and the Market Street Fountain.
At one point, the warehouse had water two feet high in it. Even the canned goods and non-perishable items are not salvageable.
The Second Harvest staff says the water was so dirty all the items it touched must be disposed of. They don't want rusting cans of food in people's cabinets.
"There's not much we can salvage with what was on the floor of our facility. Yes, the stuff way up is fine, but we have to get to it. We have to get rid of the bad to get to the good," said the food bank's Executive Director Elaine Streno.
She says they have to throw away at least 40 percent of their food. For the next seven days, operations at Second Harvest will be paralyzed by the damage.
"We distribute food to 150,000 people per month so there are going be some hurting families out there because of this situation," Streno explained.
In the Second Harvest parking lot, things were even worse. Vehicles belonging to employees and volunteers were ruined by flood water.
"It's been hard to see something you take ownership of get in this situation. And of course, knowing the work we're going to have to do to get it back in order," Streno said.
According to the food bank's insurance policy, it's covered for up to $500,000 in damages. The concern now centers around whether that money is even enough to get Second Harvest back on track.
Streno says their first priority is getting the electricity turned on.
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