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Annual county commodities distribution kicks off new year

By Meg Dickens

In its continued effort to support the community, the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency (UETHDA) annual commodity distribution will be on Thursday, January 9, 2020, at the National Guard Armory on South Shady Street. According to organizers, all items will be on a first-come-first-served basis to eligible recipients. Distribution starts at 1 PM and will continue until 3 PM or until supplies run out. The event is funded through an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) through the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

The USDA Commodity Foods Program, also known as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), provides free food items to help families in need have access to nutritious food without putting a strain on finances. UETHDA distributes commodities in nine locations in eight counties.

Each recipient must be a Tennessee resident and have a light blue commodity ID card from the Neighborhood Service Center. Officials recommend applying for the commodity ID card at least a week in advance to reduce wait times. There will, however, be staff available during the distribution to help those without a card acquire one. See more information on applications at

Any proxy picking up commodities must have that person’s commodity ID card and be authorized on their application. A proxy can pick up a maximum of five orders. UETHDA provides volunteers to help the elderly and disabled carry commodities on site. The USDA’s Emergency Food Assistance Program does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability.

“Misrepresentation of need or sale or exchange of USDA commodities is prohibited and could result in a fine, imprisonment, or both,” warns Assistant Director of Community Services Shounda Stevenson.

To learn more about this program, visit The UETHDA commodity distribution will be located at 1923 South Shady Street, Mountain City, TN 37683. Find out more at (423) 341-8675.