The Tri-Cities Food Bank has four sites in the Tri-Cities dedicated to helping feed people in the area. Their main focus right now is feeding as many people as they can as safely as possible.
VJ Meadows is the Executive Director of the Tri-Cities Food Bank.
“The supply chain was impacted so greatly across the U.S. that it affected all of the food banks and were just trying to walk through this process and be versatile enough that we can make sure we find all the food necessary and get it out to the people that are needy at this time,” said Meadows.
Between all their sites, they are trying to get out 20 tons of food a week, and now people all across the board are coming to get food–they’re working with 18 schools in our area, college students, people experiencing homelessness, and seniors. That includes a government program out of the food bank that’s utilized by 170 elderly people in our community that delivers boxes of food to them.
“What we’ve really had to do is look at how we can get food to people and keep everybody safe so we’ve looked at contactless food distribution we are doing—we call them COVID modifications to each one of our sites just to make sure we keep people safe and our volunteers safe,” said Meadows.
Meadows says protocols are in place and they are following CDC guidelines as well as working with the health department.
Right now they have about 200 volunteers—but Meadows says about 40 percent of their previous volunteers are at home right now. However, the community has stepped up to help fill those gaps.
“Kids have been coming in. College kids. People that are out of work right now have come in and they’re volunteering. We hope they stay,” said Meadows.
If you want to help, any amount of time can make a difference.
“You know, whatever anyone can provide, we will have arms wide open,” said Meadows.
The Tri-Cities Food Bank website can be found here.