Food on Foot hands out more than 900 meals

A line of cars wait to pick up bags at Food on Foot on East Morris Boulevard. The non-profit gave out 904 bags. The next distribution will be Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

The outpouring of support for Food on Foot, the nonprofit agency that’s providing food to deserving, out-of-school Hamblen County students, is flowing from many sources, but the well will run dry after Saturday’s pickup, Carolyn Jarnigan, agency president said this morning.

The two latest food distributions at the Food on Foot office on Berkline Drive and at Lincoln Middle School cost $9,600 and served more than 900 students, 80 percent more than receive food baskets on Fridays while school is session. Volunteers, whose personal protective equipment consists of garbage bags, gloves and masks, will distribute food again at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Cracker Barrel has donated apples, oranges and tomatoes. Mayfield Dairy Farms has helped with milk, and a Morristown-based convenience-store chain is helping monetary donations go further by providing food at wholesale cost.

In the big picture large donations are meaningful, but it’s not always the largest gifts that leave the most lasting impressions, and it’s not always feeding the masses that brings the most satisfaction, according to Jarnagin.

Last Saturday, a pizza delivery driver donated his tip money. That money went into the pot that helped provide milk to a 4-month-old baby.

The baby’s mother came by the Food and Foot office and said she wasn’t looking for donations – her baby had enough milk for two days. One of the volunteers overheard the conversation, and made arrangements for the infant to receive milk for a month, according to Jarnagin, who recalled a memorable quote from another volunteer.

“This country is being hit by a tsunami, and its name is COVID-19. It’s trying to overtake us, but we keep climbing to higher ground and it’s not going to win.”