By Curtis Carden
A local nonprofit charity has spearheaded a plan to distribute food for those in need.
Hand-of-Hope, a charitable 501(c)(3) group based in Johnson City, has teamed up with Chef 5 Minute Meals, based out of Piney Flats, to provide hot and ready meals to 1,200 people who are homeless or experiencing hardship across the region.
The meals, which are self-heating according to information provided by the group, are designed to provide nutritious hot food to individuals and families without the need of a microwave or stove. Hand-of-Hope meals are for individuals and families who cannot get in a shelter or elect to stay outdoors due to “lack of trust or fear of institutional settings”.
“We are fortunate in the northeast Tennessee region to have a number of agencies, public and charitable, working to ensure that the homeless and transitional population have basic resources to survive,” Hand-of-Hope Project Manager Jennifer Barnett said. “During these months that bring cold temperatures, snow and icy conditions … there is a critical need for an immediate resource for hot meals.”
Barnett said that meals, which are like military MREs, take five-to-seven minutes of preparation and include food and a beverage mix.
“Hand-of-Hope, partnering with area agencies and hopefully law enforcement, is seeking to help the homeless and needy with hot meals and in the process of facilitating the building of trusting relationships within the community,” the group said in the release issued.
Barnett told The Erwin Record on Monday, Feb. 29, that with additional funds raised, they could have additional meal kits ready, up to 5,000 can be obtained. The group has begun distribution of the 1,200 meals and Barnett said other future plans include working alongside schools in the region.
The project is geared to assist individuals by utilizing distribution through shelters and other community groups. Other goals for the project, according to the group’s website, are to partner with various organizations while looking to receive financial support from individuals across the area. Due to the group’s charitable registration, donations to Hand-of-Hope are tax-deductible. Any donations can be made to the group, which is located at 904 Sunset Drive Suite 4A, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37604.
“Anybody that donates $10 to Hand-of-Hope … that is enough for six meals,” Barnett added.
For more information on the Hand-of-Hope, the Homeless Meals project and how to assist, visit their website at hand-of-hope.org or contact Barnett at 631-0636 or 833-3538.