The Well Outreach food pantry in Spring Hill has seen a surge of visitors following the shortages and school closures brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, nearly tying its record Tuesday for its highest number of families served in a single day.
As The Well fights to see to it that no family goes hungry, the nonprofit has also partnered with Williamson County Schools, where staff and volunteers will hand out an additional 100 prepackaged meals a week at Chapman's Retreat Elementary School in Spring Hill.
“We're going to put together emergency food boxes for those families of those students, and what that means to The Well is that I need to come up with food and funding to support 100 food boxes per week,” said Shelly Sassen, executive director for The Well. “We used to serve about 200-250 families a month, and so this would be 400 food boxes on top of the old numbers, so there's going to be a huge need for businesses, corporations and churches that want to help those at-risk students to partner with The Well.”
The tornadoes that swept across Middle Tennessee earlier this month have also led to more shortages, with The Well’s primary source of food — the Second Harvest Food Bank — currently still serving the 19 counties impacted by the tornado. That coupled with food shortages brought on from panic buying has led to The Well pulling out all stops to get the food they need to help service those in need.
“All of our food literally comes in on a daily basis... we don't have pallets and pallets of food,” Sassen said. “Honestly, we're surviving day to day or week to week right now with the food that comes in. We're just going to have to look at getting either more contributions or trying to raise funding so that we can buy food. The need is going to be exponentially greater.”
Despite the difficulties, The Well will still hold its mobile food pantry this Saturday, where starting at 9 a.m. at Spring Hill High School, 20,000 pounds of food will be given to families in need. In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation of social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19, The Well has asked guests to stay in their vehicles, with volunteers and staff delivering prepackaged meals directly to guests’ trunks.
Volunteers are always needed, with those interested encouraged to sign up to help online by clicking here. More than anything, however, The Well is in dire need of food or monetary donations. Its most needed items are typically canned, jared and boxed goods, a list of which can be seen by clicking here.
The Well Outreach's current location, which will be open until this Saturday, March 21, is located at 5226 Main Street, while its new location, opening Tuesday, March 31, is located at 5306 Main Street. The Well can be reached by phone at (615) 302-9355.