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Feeding the hungry here one meal at a time

By: Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer, Photographer

In an effort to gain recognition for the growing poverty/hunger problem in Johnson County, The Tomahawk published the first in a series of articles earlier this month. This composition is the second edition and another will follow during the month of September, which is dubbed “Hunger Action Month.”
Last time, several statistics were presented as obtained by graduate student Candace St. Lawrence in reference to local poverty and hunger. Previously featured were the three active food banks that reside in Johnson County. This week’s focus are the various local organizations that provide essential meal services to the community.
The Johnson County Senior Center is extremely active providing those in need with everything from home cooked meals to transportation. St. Lawrence reports “The Senior Center is a site for congregate meals, serving about 40 to 60 people a day, Monday through Friday. The food is cooked in Elizabethton and delivered on a daily basis by a nonprofit social services delivery agency, The First Tennessee Human Resource Agency. This agency also prepares the meals for the homebound seniors and provides the Net Trans Service.” In addition, St. Lawrence reports that the Senior Center “makes meals for special occasions”. Senior Center Director Joyce Kidd works tirelessly to stretch her $63,000 per year budget often attending commodity distributions and hauling dozens of boxes of food herself to ensure the future success of the Senior Center.
The Johnson County/Mountain City Community Center is another big asset to the community when it comes to feeding those in need. Community Center Director Flo Bellamy is passionate about the needs of Johnson Countians and she works hard to provide solutions to various problems face in the community. The Community Center houses the only licensed Kid’s Café in the county, which means they are a certified day care and the kitchen is inspected by the State Health Department. St. Lawrence reports that the Community Center serves an average of 20 children per day. The meals served at the center are a far cry from typical soup kitchen fare with various courses prepared from fresh ingredients.

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.