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On Saturday, February 26th, Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron hosted a meal packing event with county employee volunteers to provide food to the local food insecure. During the first year, just over 50,000 meals were packaged by volunteers. Each year, Mayor Ketron has successfully increased the goal with 66,528 meals being completed this 3rd year.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15.2% of people in Tennessee live below the poverty level. This leads to many who are food insecure, meaning they often lack the security of where their next meal is coming from. Currently, 9.9% of people in Rutherford County are food insecure.
“When we heard about this program to package nutritious domestic meals, we knew it was the perfect way for us to lead this food relief effort,” said Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron. “This is a unique assembly line process, and our employees enjoy being a part of this food packaging event. It is not only a fun way to work together, but it will have an immediate positive impact on our community.”
Several local non-profits were the recipients of the food, including the Domestic Violence and Assault Center, Greenhouse Ministries, Mid-Cumberland Meals on Wheels, Nourish Food Bank, Recovery Court, Juvenile Detention, RC Schools Atlas Program, Hope Outpouring, Boys and Girls Club, Selah3, and the Smyrna Senior Center.
At the event, there were employees representing 15 county departments, 14 schools, BOE Central Office, and Community Care. Joining Mayor Ketron were multiple Constitutional Officers present, including Trustee Teb Batey, Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh, Circuit Court Clerk Melissa Harrell, and County Clerk Lisa Crowell. Additionally, several County Commissioners were present to assist including Veronica Buchanan – District 6, Rhonda Allen – District 11, and Paul Johnson – District 13. In addition, Cumulus Media’s 103.3 Country and 95.5 Nash Icon were present and provided the music to keep everyone energized during the event.
Supplies for the meals are provided by the Outreach Program (outreachprogram.org), but it is the job of the organizers to provide volunteers and sponsors for the event. Mayor Ketron rallied Blue Water Industry, Rogers Group, Smyrna Ready Mix, and Wright Brothers to provide the monetary support required to provide the over 66,000 meals. Their contributions are greatly appreciated, and without them the event would not have been possible.