Meals of Hope



Rutherford County government and Board of Education employees volunteered to pack over 55,000 meals Saturday, March 11, 2023.  

More than 150 volunteers gathered in groups to pack fortified pasta with tomato sauce that will be distributed to various non-profit organizations, food banks, charities, and ministries across Rutherford County.

Emily Cox helps facilitate meal-packing events in Middle Tennessee.

“When we learned that one in six children in Tennessee face hunger every day, we knew we wanted to help somehow,” Cox said. “We are so excited to partner with Rutherford County employees to pack meals to help feed Rutherford County.”

Sonya Stephenson, Rutherford County Chief of Human Resources, said the county had representatives from Animal Services, Ambulance Service, Blackman Elementary, Blackman Middle, Blackman High, Buchanan Elementary, Building Codes, Cedar Grove Elementary, Central Magnet, Christiana Middle, Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, County Clerk’s Office, Circuit Judge Law Clerk, Correctional Work Center, Engineering, Finance, Human Resources, Insurance & Risk Management, Mayor’s Office, McFadden, Oakland High, Office of Information Technology, Riverdale High, Rock Springs Middle, Rockvale Elementary, Rockvale High, Rocky Fork Middle, Roy Waldron, Rutherford County Board of Education Central Office, Rutherford County Bus Drivers, Sheriff’s Office, Trustee’s Office, and Youth Services who volunteered their time to give back to the community they serve.

The following constitutional officers were present packing meals for their community:  County Commissioner Jonathan Beverly, County Commissioner Hope Oliver, County Clerk Lisa Crowell, County Mayor Joe Carr, County School Board Chair Tammy Sharp, County School Board member Frances Rosales, and County Trustee Teb Batey.

Mayor Joe Carr reflected, “This is an example of the greatest resource in Rutherford County, the people.  We are fortunate to live in a community where neighbors help neighbors.”

The meals were provided to the following agencies: Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center, Greenhouse Ministries, Hope Outpouring, Journey Home, Mid Cumberland Meals on Wheels, Nourish Food Bank, Rutherford County Probation and Recovery Services, Rutherford County Schools Atlas Program, Second Harvest Food Bank, Smyrna Senior Center, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

This event would not have been possible without the generous donations of three local businesses, Nick Dibartolo and Jon Stevens of the Rogers Group, Jeff Hollingshead of Smyrna Ready Mix and Wright Construction.

Meals of Hope developed five meals specifically designed for the American palate and added vitamins, minerals, and proteins to supplement an unbalanced diet.  Food packages are designed to address the need for an economical, nutritious solution to aid in the fight against hunger.  Each packet contains enough food to provide six meals.

Stephen Popper, President/CEO of Meals of Hope thanked the employees.

“We are thankful and appreciative of the support provided by Rutherford County employees to help us combat the hunger epidemic,” said Popper. “These types of events make for a fun and rewarding day for the volunteers, and they help us deliver healthy meals to underserved individuals.”

About Meals of Hope Tennessee Packing Partners

Emily and Aaron Cox are available to help facilitate meal-packing events in Middle and West Tennessee.  Many organizations host events as a fun way to volunteer and give back to the community.  Please contact them at [email protected] for more information.

About Meals of Hope

Meals of Hope is a nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) that is committed to bringing people together to fight the hunger epidemic.  Founded in 2007, Meals of Hope has packed over 80 million meals that have been donated to communities in need across the nation and around the world.


People packing food

(L-R) Macey Hollingshead, Rutherford County Clerk Lisa Duke Crowell, Rutherford County Deputy Clerk II Leiloa Fia Tiumalu