COOKEVILLE – Cookeville Strong, a local Facebook community group, has joined forces with the Tennessee Technological University Food Pantry and Putnam County Parks and Recreation Department to host a local weekly grocery giveaway over the coming weeks.
The program will begin this Friday, Feb. 12 at the Putnam County Fairgrounds and will open to the public at 10 a.m.. Participants can receive one perishable food box and gallon of milk per family.
The groups will hand out over 1,200 boxes of food and 1,200 gallons of milk each week, on Friday, until the program ends in April. The food is provided by Breakthru Nashville as part of the USDA Farmers to Family grant program which aims to provide COVID relief to small farms and American citizens. The boxes will vary from week to week and contain a variety of fresh foods and perishable items.
Katelyn Steakley, with Cookeville Strong, and Michelle Huddleston, with Tennessee Technological University’s food pantry, are organizing the distributions.
“There are so many struggling from the pandemic and we are extremely thankful that Cookeville was selected as a location for this distribution. We have joined forces with a host of local nonprofits and agencies to make this distribution as efficient as possible” Steakley said. “We are also making the event contactless. Boxes will be placed in the trunk of recipient’s car upon arrival. We are asking everyone to have an empty trunk and since the boxes contain perishable items and milk. We also request those coming bring insulated bags with them if they have them available.”
Huddleston said, “In an effort to serve the most at risk in our community, we are opening the distributions to nonprofits and agencies that serve marginalized individuals.”
If you run a nonprofit or serve marginalized groups and are interested in receiving boxes in bulk, please email Huddleston at Volunteer@tntech.edu.
To learn more about the event, please visit www.putnamcountytn.gov/help.
Supplies are limited and are on a first come, first served basis. More information about the end of the program will be released at a later date.