COALFIELD, Tenn. (WATE) – With thousands of people unemployed in Tennessee because of COVID-19, community food banks are filling the need of providing groceries and nonperishable food to more and more families.

Once a month, members of a small congregation in Coalfield combine their volunteers with others and hand out food to those in need. That church started providing meals to just a few people a couple of years ago, but the virus has changed all that.

On the third Friday of every month, the Hope for the Hungry Food Bank comes alive in Coalfield.

Volunteers form the Coalfield Seventh Day Adventist Church shift into high gear, quickly moving as much food as they can onto tables outside the church.

The families come from all around Morgan County. The free meals help stretch budgets which for many people are strained.

The church’s pastor, Lonnie Cook, says the food bank started out modestly a few years ago serving no more than half a dozen people a month, then it grew, and served even more.

Now with the pandemic the numbers of people pulling up in their vehicles have grown larger each week since mid-March when stay at home orders were first made.

Since Hope for the Hungry’s food distribution system is so successful every month, Second Harvest has supplied the church with an ample supply of food filling two storage rooms.

The food bank not only reaches out to people throughout Morgan County, its brought the community of Coalfield and several church groups together.

Two words were repeated throughout the day: blessing and miracle.

The efficient organization created by the church and carried out by volunteers in providing meals to so many is the blessing, and the miracle.

The Coalfield Seventh Day Adventist Church has 65 members, but Friday it seemed like there were 165 working together. A vital piece of equipment, they need inside their food storage facility is a big refrigerator. Reverend Cook says, if they had one, they’d be able to provide more dairy products to the list of food handed out.