Photo and Story by Timothy Carroll / Contributing Writer
Feed America First, a non-profit charity based in Murfreesboro, celebrated the grand opening of its new warehouse on Friday. The warehouse will allow the organization to increase the size of its operation and deliver more food to those in need.
Feed America First was founded in 2000 by Tom Henry, who acts as the executive director for the non-profit organization. When asked about what the new warehouse will mean for the organization, Henry was nothing short of optimistic.
“We have a great opportunity here to reach out and expand our business to more people in need,” Henry said. “This also means that we will need more volunteers to help us make our goals.”
The warehouse is expected to almost triple Feed America First’s storage capacity and will allow the non-profit to significantly expand its efforts. The construction of the building was made possible by the generosity of Bob Stroop, a local business owner. He first partnered with Feed America First in 2008 after the recession hit, causing the non-profit to lose its lease at its old base of operations. Stroop’s generosity reportedly saved the organization.
Although Tennessee is its primary base, Feed America First also operates in Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi. The faith-based organization provides food for over 200 different partner agencies across the area. Together with its partners, Feed America First seeks to increase its output each and every month. 2016 was a banner year for the organization, as it distributed 13.8 million pounds of food.
The staff of Feed America First consists of a total of nine employees: four in the warehouse and five in the front office. They help organize pickups and deliveries for various agencies. Because it is a nonprofit, the organization tends to rely on the generosity of donors and business partners to make ends meet. It accepts volunteers in its warehouse to help load trucks year round. It is in particular demand for volunteers around the holiday season when the need for food is the greatest.
Since it was founded, Feed America First has helped feed over 35,000 families every month. In its lifetime, the organization has delivered over 80 million pounds of food to those in need. This is a number that is expected to increase significantly with the construction of the new warehouse. Feed America First plans to expand its efforts to include refrigerated items by 2018. The non-profit has previously been limited to perishables like bread and fruit and non-perishables like rice and canned food.
To volunteer or donate to Feed America First organization, contact Julie Vandel at email@example.com.
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