The Chattanooga Area Food Bank announced on Dec. 20, 2017 the difficult decision to cut Sack Pack Programs in eight of the 20 counties they serve, due to lack of funding. The community responded with an "extraordinary revenue rescue" and resolved the shortfall.
“It has been an awe-inspiring and humbling experience to witness people from all walks of life, the corporate world and the media, come out in droves to offer their support,” said Gina Crumbliss, Food Bank president and CEO. “Having the funds to restart the Sack Pack Program for the remaining 19 weeks of the school year has been an absolute blessing to the 1,776 students who depend on this little bundle of nutritious food to eat over the weekend.”
In conjunction with the Food Bank, many of their partner agencies are still on track to provide 12,000+ students in the other twelve counties with Sack Packs for the remainder of the 2017-18 school year. Looking to the future, the Food Bank is researching innovative ways and emerging trends in the industry to incorporate more effective and efficient methods to fight weekend hunger.
While a private foundation provided seed money to encourage other major donors to follow suit, most online donations were $100 or less. One donor remarked that “she and her family decided to take the money they would normally spend on Christmas presents and donate it to the Food Bank for the Sack Pack Program, instead.”
“While the problem has been resolved for now, the challenge will be to design a cost effective means of serving these clients for the 2018-19 school year and beyond,” said Food Bank Board Chairman John Clark. “We are encouraged, but not surprised by these donations. Our community is extremely philanthropic. We are humbled by this outpouring of support and we hope there are individuals and businesses in the eight counties (Hamilton, Marion, Grundy, Sequatchie, Meigs, Polk, Van Buren and Walker) with the financial capability that will be inspired to adopt their area schools and ensure that the nutritional needs of students are met.”
To make a donation to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, visit www.chattfoodbank.org, or call Director of Development Sarah Aligo at 423-622-1800. Every $1 raised provides 4 meals and 97¢ of every dollar goes to support food and programs, officials said.