The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society and Foundation funded a $10,000 grant to assist in opening the Brainerd Community Food Pantry. The pantry serves Brainerd and midtown, which includes the Medical Society location.
“One of the core tenets of our organization is promoting community health, according to Dr. James Haynes, past president of the Medical Society and chair of the Healthy Community Work Group. “A major facet of health is nutrition, especially for children.
In our area, nearly 200,000 people could face hunger, a number that has only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those people who are food insecure, 41 percent are children. Thus, we felt compelled to aid in addressing this need in the community by granting the start-up funds to the Brainerd Food Pantry. In our profession, prevention is always preferable to cure.”
Bess Steverson of the Brainerd Food Pantry said: “Had we not received the generous start up gift from the Medical Society and Foundation of Chattanooga, it would have been several months before we secured the funding to open the community pantry. We knew our most vulnerable neighbors could not wait because there had been a 449 percent increase in emergency food box requests from the same period last year.
“The match which was included with this gift leveraged faith-based organizations, businesses and individual donors to support the efforts to help us get the pantry started as soon as possible. Thanks to this incredible gift, 71,000 meals have been provided thus far to families and individuals throughout the Brainerd area; this represents 2700 adults and 1700 children being provided food during these difficult times.”
“We are intimately aware of the impact that COVID-19 has had on our community. As physicians, we see it every day. By aiding the Brainerd Food Pantry, we hope to help remove one more worry from those most affected by this pandemic,” according to Dr. Colleen Schmitt, Medical Foundation president.
The Brainerd Food Pantry is open two Wednesdays a month from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Brainerd United Methodist Church, 4315 Brainerd Road. Details about the pantry schedule can be found at www.brainerdfoodpantry.com or at the Brainerd Food Pantry page on Facebook.
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society was established in 1883 as an advocate for physicians and for the continual improvement of community health. The Medical Foundation of Chattanooga supports the Society’s charitable mission. Project Access is the largest program administered by the Foundation.