What happens in Tennessee when there are critical needs? Tennessee volunteers! We saw this a few weeks ago with the tornadoes throughout Central Tennessee, and we’re seeing it again this week as the state braces for the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
School is out for at least several weeks and school districts are working to continue to provide food to students in need. Many have prepared breakfasts and lunches that may be picked up at the school, or through a “drive-through” system. Volunteers, teachers, and bus drivers are delivering to students who may not have transportation to allow for pick up.
The Bridge Ministry in Nashville responded to a call for 2300 food bags for students in Clarksville, and those bags were delivered today. Clarksville churches and residents are finding creative ways to distribute to those in need – County Commissioner Rashidah Leverett gets a High Five (air only – no touching) for helping kids there! The Bridge Ministry also prepared thousands of food bags for Metro Nashville schools to distribute this week.
The Tennessee Department of Education received waivers from USDA allowing schools to continue to prepare and serve children under 18. As the crisis continues there will be a continuing need for volunteers and financial aid. Contact your local school board if you need help, or if you want to volunteer.
With child care facilities closed for at least the next few weeks, parents who must be at work are getting creative in their search for options. The Wyndy App, available in Nashville, Chattanooga and Memphis, has vetted college students available to help – those recruited may be asked to sign a contract stating they will work for one family only during this time, and will follow all CDC protocols.
You may also find a neighboring high school or college student in need of extra income just around the corner from you. The Next Door app allows you to list your needs and find someone close by to help you out. That app lists people who are willing to babysit, shop for the elderly, even help with household chores – and it often contains updates from your local health department, police, firefighters, city and county officials
Local churches and community centers are exploring other ways to help families with children. Reach out to those you might drive past every day on your way to work. People in communities around Tennessee are stepping up to serve wherever they are needed.
There will be a continuing need in the weeks and months ahead to feed our children – and the elderly. Community Food Banks and other feeding ministries are requesting financial contributions and young volunteers to help sort, package, and deliver food. Cities and counties are putting plans in action to assure that no citizen is neglected. Contact us if you have a need and are unable to find help. Or share your tips and stories of how people in your community are stepping up and working to get us all through these next few weeks. It’s incredibly encouraging to see Tennesseans coming together like they are at this critical time. Your stories help us connect faith, community, and government to improve life for every Tennessean.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” Proverbs 3:27