Chattanooga Food Bank Increases Fresh Produce Distribution By 220% Over Last 3 Years

Monday, March 7, 2016
Melissa Blevins
Melissa Blevins

Melissa Blevins, Chattanooga Area Food Bank (CAFB) director of operations, will lead a best practices session on Monday at the 2016 Feeding America Fresh Produce Summit in Tampa, Fl. The Chattanooga Area Food Bank has been recognized as a national leader for its success in securing and distributing fresh produce throughout its service area.

During a session entitled “Best Practices Addressing Barriers: What’s Working?” Ms. Blevins will present insights on growing produce programs to representatives of Feeding America’s 200 food banks nationwide. 

“Melissa’s collaborative approach to working with Chattanooga Area Food Bank agency partners has enabled CAFB to rapidly distribute significantly more food throughout our region” said Christa Mannarino, CAFB interim president. “By way of Melissa’s operations leadership, we have not only become more efficient, we’ve provided those in our community who are most in need with access to healthy food.” 

In her role as director of operations, Ms. Blevins has overseen dramatic growth in CAFB’s food procurement and food distribution. In just three years, CAFB increased its overall food distribution by 54% throughout the Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia region. This year, CAFB expects to distribute approximately 14.8 million pounds of food—the equivalent of 12.3 million meals—to children, families and seniors struggling with hunger. Fresh produce has played a critical role in CAFB’s food distribution growth. During the past three years, CAFB increased its fresh produce procurement from one million to 3.2 million pounds of food per year. 

The increase in fresh produce has had a significant impact on the way the CAFB operations team handles and distributes food. In partnership with the CAFB senior leadership team, the CAFB Board of Directors, a volunteer operations committee and CAFB agency partners, Ms. Blevins has overseen a major operational transition to just-in-time deliveries. By way of her presentation to Feeding America food bank operations representatives, Ms. Blevins will educate operations leaders on how best to collaborate with partner food pantries, soup kitchens, churches and community groups to deliver and distribute fresh produce. 



Dunkin' Donuts Removes Artificial Dyes From Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts is kicking off 2018 with news declaring donuts now sold at restaurants nationwide are no longer being made using colors from artificial sources. As part of the company’s ongoing efforts to offer guests great-tasting, high-quality products and cleaner menu labels, Dunkin’ Brands Group, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, previously pledged ... (click for more)

Chick-fil-A To Officially Break Ground For East Ridge Restaurant

Chick-fil-A’s Tennessee expansion continues with a groundbreaking event soon at the site of its new East Ridge restaurant, the second of six locations the chain expects to open in Tennessee this year. It will be near the Bass Pro Shop. Chick-fil-A representatives will join community leaders at the site of the chain’s East Ridge location at  639 Camp Jordan Parkway at Jordan ... (click for more)

Bitter Cold And Icy Roads To Continue Through Thursday Morning In Chattanooga; Some Flights Cancelled; Hamilton County Schools Closed

Bitter cold temperatures will continue for Chattanooga, the National Weather Service has warned, The NWS also is advising motorists to watch for patchy icy roads. Hamilton County Schools will be closed  on Thursday " due to areas of the county with too much ice still on the roads for buses to pass safely.    “The roads in many areas of the county ... (click for more)

City Council Considering New 2-Year $600,000 Contract With Father To The Fatherless

The City Council is considering whether to approve a new two-year contract of up to $600,000 with Father to the Fatherless for the Violence Reduction Initiative. Council members had a number of questions during a lengthy hearing on Tuesday afternoon, but Police Chief David Roddy said the program has helped bring a 35 percent reduction in gun-related shootings and a 16 percent ... (click for more)

Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you, Dr. King for stepping-out.  Thank you for your lasting voice to what it's all about. Thank you, Dr. King for  stepping up and also showing-up, ...when decisions were being made and  your refusal  to shut-up.  We find your fingerprints on both directions and toward progress.  your modeling, mentoring,  and reactions helps ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Once In A Blue…

On August 21st this past summer, four black women were walking down the street in Dayton, Tn., when a white man asked from his porch, “Are you ladies here to see the eclipse?” Told that yes, they most certainly were, the gentleman pointed to his back deck and another white couple and said, “If you don’t have plans, would you care to sit with us?” The ladies were delighted and ... (click for more)