Feeding the Hungry

I am writing in response to the recent article "Help for Knoxville Non-Profits" [Citybeat by Chris Barrett, Feb. 5, 2009]. The Ladies of Charity in Knoxville are very grateful to the East Tennessee Foundation for being selected for one of the end-of-the-year grants. It is very helpful in feeding the hungry.

While I appreciate the newspaper's effort in helping the Ladies of Charity get information about our program out to the public, I must clarify some information that appeared in the article.

Among that information is how we obtain food for our pantry. It is important to point out that we do pay for the food that we give to our clients free of charge.

We purchase food from Second Harvest Food Bank at a reduced rate—either by the pound or by the case. In 2008, we spent $17,660.20 on groceries at the food bank. We do occasionally pick up fresh produce there for free.

In addition, we purchase food at Food City and receive a 5 percent discount. We buy ground beef at Lay's Market. All totaled, we spent $99,288.11 on groceries in 2008.

Also, we give each client a three-day supply of food, not a three-meal supply as stated in the article.

We provided more than 180,000 meals to hungry children and adults in 2008. We are proud to have accomplished this with a part-time staff of nine and more than 100 dedicated volunteers who operate the emergency assistance office and thrift store, pick up groceries, stock the pantry, and pack groceries for our clients.

Because of the current economic climate, all non-profits are struggling to keep up with the needs of their clients. It is only with the community's support that Ladies of Charity will be able to continue to provide our clients with warm, nutritious food.

Amy Drews, Ph.D., Ladies of Charity Program Coordinator, Knoxville