NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee fifth-grader Andrew Beam never has worried about getting his next meal. In fact, hunger was something he never really thought about, until recently.
"I thought that people always had food, and then, when I hit fifth grade and my mom told me about people not having food, I was like oh my gosh, that's surprising," said Beam.
In response, Andrew and his classmates at Station Camp Elementary in Middle Tennessee held a food drive to help. The students collected hundreds of pounds of food to fill a new school food pantry for the district. Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is the non-profit organization managing the project. Thanks to a donated Nissan NV2500, volunteers and Second Harvest staff managed to fit all of the food they collected into one vehicle and take it to the school pantry.
"We would fill up a lot of cars, but this huge van helps us out a lot," said Brianna Tomlinson, a fifth-grade student volunteer
This is the first ever school food pantry for Sumner County. Similar pantries are emerging at other locations across the U.S. More than 7,000 of the students in Beam's school district worry about where their next meal will come from. And according to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, more than half of all public school students in Tennessee are eligible for free or reduced-price federal meal programs served in schools.
"We have a lot of families that come to us that are working. In many cases they have two jobs, but because of the economy for the past four years, many families are still struggling to get back on their feet," said Jaynee Day, president and CEO, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.
Many of these families have no easy way to get from place to place, so bringing supplies nearby is essential.
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