Volunteers give out emergency food boxes for Nashville families amid school closings

(Fox 17 News)

Extreme cold and winter weather has kept middle Tennessee schools closed, keeping many school children away from an important source of warmth and food.

Second Harvest Food Bank is distributing emergency food boxes for students and families in need during this week's bitter cold.

Second Harvest provides emergency food service year-round, but with the temps dipping down, it's taking more hands like Austin Casselman with Implement Now manufacturing to meet the needs on community families.

"One of our core values is servant leadership at Implement Now, and so we do a volunteer day every other month," Casselman said.

On Wednesday, packing up emergency food boxes for families in need hits close to home for Casselman.

"[As a kid] we didn't have any money for food," Casselman said. "Because of an organization like this and the state we were in, they provided Christmas dinner on our doorstep so my mom could cook."

Casselman and other volunteers stepped up this week to do help other families in the bitter cold. Second Harvest partnered with United Way and Metro Schools to distribute the boxes from a variety of locations.

Second Harvest President Jaynee Day said the packages contain enough food to last a couple of days as school closures persist.

"Schools have been closed for a number of days," Day said. "Businesses are closing early or have been closing early, and a lot of families are still in need of emergency food. Those kids who have not been able to go to school that qualify for free and reduced breakfast and's really putting a strain on a lot of families."

During this time, it takes a lot of coordination and people lending a hand she adds.

"We have a great protein product that we need to get out quickly to the folks in our community, but we can't do it without volunteers," Day said.

"Very blessed to have food given to us and as we went through many pallets in there, it kind of gave me chills," Casselman said. "Even though it's 40° in there, that we were making that feeling for kids as well."

Volunteers helped organize the emergency food boxes, which are being distributed at Second Harvest and several satellite locations.

"The longer schools are out and the longer people can't get to the place of employment, it puts a drain on their grocery bill and their dollars and they might need emergency food assistance," Day said. "That's what Second Harvest was founded on, providing that emergency food for families in need--whether it's an everyday daily disaster of trying to put food on the table or whether it's a snow storm or ice storm."

Metro Nashville Public Schools said families can get the emergency food packages at Family Resource Centers for the following schools from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.

  • Antioch High School
  • Davis Early Learning Center
  • Glencliff High School
  • Madison Middle School
  • Maplewood High School
  • Tusculum Elementary School
  • Fall Hamilton Elementary School
  • Cole Elementary School
  • Park Ave Elementary School
  • Pearl Cohn High School
  • Napier Elementary School

Anyone in need can also call 211.

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