TEFAP USDA Commodities Program distributes needed food items

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 Some 617 sixty-two pound boxes of food plus plastic bags filled with other food items were passed out through the TEFAP USDA Commodities Program at the Northwest Tennessee Economic Development Council’s Carroll County Service Office at 13355 Paris Street last week. Eligible persons picked up the food items July 21-24 from 8 a.m. until noon on a first come, first serve basis.

Carroll County Service Manager Amber Gilmer oversees the program.

“The food mostly goes to the elderly because so many have a very low income,” said Gilmer. “The commodity program is a supplemental program and we cover every part of the county.”

LOADING FOOD – From left, Rich Reynolds, Marty Hurley and Don Parker load commodity food in the rear of a SUV.

Each box of food contained canned beef, canned fruits and vegetables, chili, spaghetti, soups and tuna. The plastic bag contained dried fruit and nut mix and peanut butter which was packaged separate from the other food due to allergy concerns.

People can sign up for the program with interviews taken over the phone at 209-4458. One box of food is allowed per address and there are income requirements that must be met.

Volunteers helped with the paperwork and assisted with the loading of the food into vehicles as the recipients drove through line. The volunteers were from the Chamber of Commerce, Headstart, Town of Huntingdon, Overflow Church and Carroll County Health Department.

Carroll County Jail inmates generally help with the distribution process, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, they were not allowed to assist this time.

“The coronavirus has changed everything,” said Gilmer. “We had to figure out a way to get out in the community because the food was so needed. The volunteers saved the day.”

INFORMATION – County Service Aide Brandi McKinnie gathers information from a client.

One recipient, whose son lives with her, said she was thankful to get the extra food.

“I use every bit I get,” she said.

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