Funds Used to Reach Underserved Areas

Tennesseans facing food insecurity will have improved access to nutritious foods thanks to a grant awarded to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service has awarded a $1 million grant to TDA to improve reach and resiliency of The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in the state. TEFAP is a federal program that supplements the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food at no cost.

“We are committed to participating in work that supplies healthy food to all Tennesseans,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “A grant this size will make an enormous impact for Tennessee’s rural areas, benefitting populations who are underserved and the farmers who contribute to the safest, most nutritious food system in the world.”

TDA’s Commodity Distribution Administrator Terry Minton has worked for the past 25 years to make sure Tennesseans of all ages have food through USDA nutrition assistance programs. “We’ll be able to meet even more critical nutrition needs with this grant,” Minton said. “The funding will enable regional Tennessee food banks to tailor strategies to meet the needs of the areas they serve. They’ve been great partners with us for decades and their role is essential in our common goal of getting high-quality food to those who need it.”

With the benefit of this grant, the Chattanooga Area Food Bank and the Mid-South Food Bank will expand mobile pantries. Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee will purchase equipment and support renovations at local distribution sites. Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee will increase TEFAP distributions and establish new distribution sites in underserved areas. Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee will conduct a needs assessment to better understand current reach and upgrade coolers and freezers at local distribution sites.

TDA’s mission is to serve all the citizens of Tennessee by providing options for responsible use of our agricultural and forest resources, developing economic opportunities, safeguarding food and fiber, and ensuring equity in the marketplace.