Second Harvest Food Bank: ‘We are in crisis mode,’ amid COVID-19 concerns

Coronavirus

ALCOA, Tenn. (WATE) – As the coronavirus changes so much in our everyday lives, it’s also changing everyday operations for nonprofit organizations.

Leaders with Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee say they’re meeting daily to make decisions on how to get food to the hungry.

“I mean, honest to God we are in crisis mode with things that we never anticipated even just a month ago,” said Executive Director Elaine Streno.

More: Tracking the coronavirus outbreak

Streno says Second Harvest is focusing on just two of their eight feeding programs. First is their Food for Kids program which feeds 12,000 kids in 250 schools. Right now the food bank is coordinating drop-offs with schools.

“We are going to feed these children,” said Streno.

The second program is helping partnering food pantries, a number of which are temporarily closed. Streno says Second Harvest is packing up boxes with five days worth of food for a family of four, “We are going to their [food pantry] parking lots. We are going to be distributing food out of their parking lots to prevent any kind of gathering.”

Streno says this work is overwhelming, heartbreaking and the impact of COVID-19 is huge, “Our trucks are still on the road, our Food Rescue Program that picks up food from grocery stores, well guess what? We’re not getting a lot of that food because there’s nothing to donate. So again, this is such unprecedented territory for us in how we get the food to the hungry.”

Second Harvest is doing all they can to protect their employees, volunteers and the community.

“We are a first responder. We cannot close second harvest,” added Streno.

The food bank’s warehouse has roughly six weeks of supplies, but there are concerns about what’s next.

“We have to be here in mid-April and May and we’re going to need the community’s support to do that,” explained Streno.

While the shelves are stocked, for now, Second Harvest is asking for one thing: help, so they can continue helping.

“We love this community. They’re very giving and good to us but we need them right now,” said Streno.

If you would like to give a financial donation, Second Harvest says $140 can feed a family of four for two weeks. You can donate by clicking here.

Changes have been made to how people can volunteer, groups cannot be greater than 10 people. If you would like to donate your time by packing food boxes, sign up by clicking here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Coronavirus COVID-19 videos

Trump's convention demand comes amid Charlotte virus surge

Thumbnail for the video titled "Trump's convention demand comes amid Charlotte virus surge"

Virus expands grip in many areas, as US nears 100,000 deaths

Thumbnail for the video titled "Virus expands grip in many areas, as US nears 100,000 deaths"

3 West Knoxville Kroger employees test positive for coronavirus

Thumbnail for the video titled "3 West Knoxville Kroger employees test positive for coronavirus"

Tellico Village restaurant forced to close

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tellico Village restaurant forced to close"

College graduates struggling with job market during pandemic

Thumbnail for the video titled "College graduates struggling with job market during pandemic"

Farragut cancels Independence Day parade

Thumbnail for the video titled "Farragut cancels Independence Day parade"

Three test positive for COVID-19 at Newell plant

Thumbnail for the video titled "Three test positive for COVID-19 at Newell plant"

Athens nursing home says 14 have died from COVID-19

Thumbnail for the video titled "Athens nursing home says 14 have died from COVID-19"

UT Knoxville announces fall semester changes

Thumbnail for the video titled "UT Knoxville announces fall semester changes"

Knox County Health Dept.: Increase in active COVID-19 cases

Thumbnail for the video titled "Knox County Health Dept.: Increase in active COVID-19 cases"

Restaurants getting closer to normalcy during reopening phase 2

Thumbnail for the video titled "Restaurants getting closer to normalcy during reopening phase 2"

Knox County Health Department briefing on the first day of phase 2 reopening in the coronavirus pandemic

Thumbnail for the video titled "Knox County Health Department briefing on the first day of phase 2 reopening in the coronavirus pandemic"

People pack into DC war memorials despite pandemic

Thumbnail for the video titled "People pack into DC war memorials despite pandemic"

Distance rules 'hard to enforce' on beaches

Thumbnail for the video titled "Distance rules 'hard to enforce' on beaches"

Appalachian Trail reopens with precautions

Thumbnail for the video titled "Appalachian Trail reopens with precautions"

Hancock County records first COVID-19 case

Thumbnail for the video titled "Hancock County records first COVID-19 case"

Drug overdoses in Memphis spike during virus outbreak

Thumbnail for the video titled "Drug overdoses in Memphis spike during virus outbreak"

Dept. of Health and Human Services addressing money sent to closed hospital

Thumbnail for the video titled "Dept. of Health and Human Services addressing money sent to closed hospital"

Safe Space among nonprofits feeling pinch during COVID-19 pandemic

Thumbnail for the video titled "Safe Space among nonprofits feeling pinch during COVID-19 pandemic"

ETSU Tennessee Poll shows support for Republican candidates, split on mail voting

Thumbnail for the video titled "ETSU Tennessee Poll shows support for Republican candidates, split on mail voting"

Trending Stories

WATE 6 On Your Side Twitter