Inside the Food on Foot Distribution Center in Morristown hangs a large stop sign that reads “Child hunger stops here.”
Saturday morning the not-for-profit agency struck a blow against child hunger by giving food bags and gifts to more than 1,500 needy children during the annual Christmas giveaway. The giveaway was not limited to just the Lakeway Area. Families from five counties converged on the FOF Distribution Center for the event. Fearing the not-for-profit agency would run out of food, some families arrived at the facility at 4:30 a.m. They soon found out their fears were unfounded.
“There were already 60 people in line when I arrived at 9 a.m. said Carolyn Jarnagin of FOF. “There is just so much need in the community. Before the day was over we had served food bags and provided toys to more than 1,500 children and we gave food boxes to more than 260 families.”
More than 60 volunteers were on hand to greet the children as they approached and help them pick out toys and Christmas treats. They were given enough food to sustain them for 3-5 days. Each child was presented with a new pair of pajamas and gift. Their food bags contained peanut butter snacks, pop tarts, cereal, a box of candy canes and other non-perishable food items. The adults that received family food boxes were presented with food items that included canned food items, a ham, potatoes, cereal, pancakes and syrup.
Food on Foot was created in in 2007 by Jarnagin who created the charitable organization with the intent to provide weekend food bags to area children that would otherwise go without when school cafeterias are closed. The need in the community was greater than Jarnagin had originally anticipated. When FOF was founded Jarnagin began providing food bags to 40 children from a rented storage in Morristown. Currently, the agency provides food bags to more than 500 area children each weekend.
Jarnagin was inspired to name her charitable agency Food on Foot when she handed the bags to the children and she watched the grateful youths as they walked away. She was struck with the idea to call her newfound ministry Food on Foot Ministry of East Tenn.
Jarnagin receives no salary for her work and FOF receives no funding from any government agency. All donations are made from private citizens and privately owned businesses. The cost of the Saturday giveaway was more than $40,000 all of which was raised through private donations. The Distribution Center will be closed until January 3, at which time the agency will begin serving the area’s needy children.
“We had a wonderful day,” said Jarnagin. “We helped so many wonderful people. Christmas is the giving season when people open their hearts and their pocketbooks. The first three months of the new year is usually slow. But, this community has always stepped up to help the children of the area.”
To learn more about Food on Foot visit the web Site tn.foodonfoot.com. Donations can be sent to: Food on Foot, P.O. Box 2129 Morristown, TN 37816 or FOF P.O. Box 39, Bean Station TN 37708.