Love Thy Neighbor Project
Mission and History
The Love Thy Neighbor Project is dedicated to eliminating the barrier of food insecurity for individuals at Tennessee Wesleyan University, as well as throughout the surrounding Athens and McMinn County community.
In the fall of 2013, the Love Thy Neighbor Project was developed by the Center for Service and Leadership staff and an AmeriCorps VISTA member to address issues of food insecurity in McMinn County.
The Love Thy Neighbor Project seeks to provide low-income individuals with healthy, fresh foods on a regular basis to alleviate the burden of food insecurity and encourage a healthy diet. In the last year, the TWU Campus Food Pantry served more than 2,500 clients, the Mobile Food Pantry provided food to 1,426 local households, and the Back Sacks program supplied 70 school-aged children with weekend meals for 38 weeks.
Campus Food Pantry
The TWU Campus Food Pantry is a client choice pantry. This means that individuals are able to “shop” our food selections like in a grocery store, which helps to eliminate wasted items. We do not prepackage boxes for distribution because we believe each household should have the right to choose their groceries. Clients can shop in the pantry twice a month and receive shelf-stable food, dairy items, and fresh produce.
Mobile Food Pantry
Mobile Food Pantries are hosted at various locations throughout McMinn County to make them more accessible to the greater community. Mobile Food Pantries are set up like farmers’ markets, and eligible households are paired with a LTNP volunteer to walk through and select the items they would like for their families. Each household leaves with approximately 75 pounds of fresh produce and shelf-stable items.
The Back Sacks Program serves to eliminate food insecurity by providing weekend meals to students in need at McMinn County High School, Rogers Creek Elementary School and Etowah City Elementary School. The weekend meals typically include a canned protein, vegetable, fruit, grain, juice or breakfast drink, and a few snacks.
The Love Thy Neighbor Project relies on the support of dedicated and hardworking volunteers to help us serve the McMinn County community. The majority of LTNP volunteers are TWU students who volunteer to meet their service learning requirement. Volunteers do everything from assisting clients in the Campus Food Pantry, assembling and delivering Back Sacks, and distributing food at the Mobile Food Pantry. Volunteer opportunities are available on a weekly and monthly basis, making it easy to get involved with the community.
For more information regarding the Love Thy Neighbor Project or to volunteer, donate, or partner on a project, please contact us!
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find us on Facebook: facebook.com/twulovethyneighbor