By Bailey Metcalf
West High students are encouraged to donate food items from a list given by their teacher in their third-period class. Parents of online students or the student themselves can bring by their food items to the security desk in the Freshman Academy entrance or send food in with a classmate that is an in-person learner. This must be between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM Friday, Nov. 13. West High School highly urges those who can donate to bring those items in, it means the world to people in the community.
Thanksgiving is a time of year that people come together and appreciate all of the goodness that has come into their lives. For many, coming together and eating a big meal is a common tradition among families in America. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to enjoy this luxury of having an affordable meal during the holiday season. The pandemic has made life even more difficult, as the poverty rate in the Morristown community has increased from past years, along with many other Americans going without food on Thanksgiving. The national poverty rate in 2018 was 11.8%. Hamblen County is higher in poverty rates, ranging from 19.5% in 2019, an increase of 1.3% from the previous year. 21.9% of Hamblen County’s poverty rate is made up of children from ages 5-17, making a donation to the Thanksgiving Food Drive can help a student sitting right in the classrooms of Hamblen County Schools to have a special meal on Thanksgiving.
For years, the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive has benefited families from the help of students and staff who were able to donate from the Hamblen County school district. In 2018, Food Pantry served 19,477 individuals in Hamblen County. Since the cost of living has gone up by 14%, it has made it more difficult to afford the expense of food, let alone food being healthy. 13.3% of Hamblen County claimed that their households were Food Insecure as 68% of the community receives benefits such as SNAP, WIC, and free school lunches. Covid-19 has changed the food insecurity rate immensely projecting to be from 17%- 23% of the population of Tennessee, leaving child food insecurity rates at 24%-30% in Tennessee during 2020. People lost their jobs and health benefits when the pandemic hit this year, affecting many aspects of daily life for Tennesseans. For this holiday season, it is the perfect time of year to show compassion and empathy to those in the Hamblen County community who need it.
Percentage Rates Sources:
Hamblen County Central Services