The Well receives funds from Food Lion to expand student feeding program
The Well Outreach in Spring Hill has received $6,000 from the Food Lion Feeds program to help improve operations and expand its food pantry to help serve food insecure students in Maury County Public Schools and Williamson County Schools.
The donation will help The Well donate more food to food-insecure families and purchase needed equipment to expand its JetPack program, a weekend food program for students, in partnership with the public school systems.
The Well Outreach, a partner agency with Second Harvest, received the funds through the recent Food Lion Feeds’ The Great Pantry Makeover effort. In addition to providing funds for the capital improvement project, local Food Lion associates will provide support by donating volunteer hours as part of its largest associate volunteer initiative.
“The Food Lion Pantry Makeover Grant enables The Well to build a bigger facility for our JetPack Program, a feeding program which provides weekend meal support to over 950 at-risk students at 25 Williamson County and Maury County schools, or students who otherwise would be going home to a bare pantry,” said Shelly Sassen, CEO of The Well Outreach.
‘Uncharted territory’:How Tennessee’s prosecutors are planning for total abortion ban
Sassen said the need for JetPacks has dramatically increased compared to pre-pandemic levels. Before the pandemic, The Well distributed JetPacks to approximately 350 students per week, and now the program serves over 950 students each week, or a 171% increase, she said.
“The increased number of students resulted in a need for a bigger food warehouse and serving space for The Well to operate the program,” Sassen said.
The Food Lion grant helped The Well purchase H-frames, storage racks, paint, flooring, and other items to construct a larger space to assemble the increased number of JetPacks.
“The Well is so thankful for community partners like Food Lion, who walk alongside The Well so that together we can feed our community in need,” Sassen said. “The pantry makeover will also help to create sustainability in operations and allow the pantry to serve more people.”
In addition, the pantry will receive a shelf-stable perishable donation to stock the pantry and more than $3,500 in Food Lion gift cards to support the pantry through the holidays and winter months.
Hunger Action Month
Food Lion’s annual feeding campaign takes place every September to align with Hunger Action Month, a time when Food Lion Feeds deepens its partnership with the Feeding America nonprofit to raise awareness and inspire action to help people facing impossible choices resulting from food insecurity.
“We are proud to partner with The Well Outreach during Hunger Action Month to help raise awareness of this nationwide effort to help end hunger,” said Kevin Durkee, Manager, Food Lion Feeds, Food Lion. “The Great Pantry Makeover provides our associates a great opportunity to connect with their neighbors while nourishing the towns and cities we serve.”
In its eighth year, Food Lion associates will volunteer to help the community as part of the initiative, this year, volunteering to complete pantry improvements at The Well.
Volunteer hours will include remodels ranging from painting and cleaning pantries to installing shelving, freezers, coolers, and other equipment to expand the capacity for fresh fruits, vegetables and other products. In addition to performing the work, Food Lion associates will also stock the pantry shelves with food.
The Well Outreach exists to provide for the hunger needs of the community. The three main programs at the Well Outreach include a weekly food pantry, a Jetpack Program, and mobile food pantries. In the food pantry alone, the organization is seeing a record number of families served every single month, recently serving over 715 families in need in one month.
The Well Outreach also facilitates on average 12-15 mobile food pantries each year. For more information, please visit springhillwell.org.