The Well Receives Food Lion Funding to Expand Student Feeding Program

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Raising the Well in Spring Hilreceived $6,000 from Food Lion Feeds Program to help improve operations and expand its food pantry to help serve food insecure students at Maury County Public Schools and Williamson County Schools.

The donation will help The Well give more food to food-insecure families and buy the equipment needed to expand its JetPack program, a weekend food program for students, in partnership with public school systems.

The Well Outreach, a Second Harvest partner agency, received the funds through Food Lion Feeds’ recent The Great Pantry Makeover effort. In addition to providing funds for the capital improvement project, local Food Lion associates will provide support by donating volunteer hours as part of its larger associate volunteer initiative.

“The Food Lion Pantry Makeover grant allows The Well to build a larger facility for our JetPack program, a feeding program that provides weekend meal support to more than 950 at-risk students at 25 schools across County. Williamson and Maury County, or students who would otherwise go home to an empty pantry,” said Shelly Sassen, CEO of The Well Outreach.

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Sassen said the need for JetPacks has increased significantly from pre-pandemic levels. Before the pandemic, The Well distributed JetPacks to about 350 students per week, and now the program serves more than 950 students each week, a 171% increase, she said.

Well Executive Director Shelly Sassen enjoys the opening day of the new

“The increased number of students has resulted in the need for more food storage and service space for The Well to run the program,” Sassen said.

The Food Lion grant helped The Well purchase H-frames, storage racks, paint, flooring and other items to build a larger space to assemble the increased number of JetPacks.

Last Wednesday, Food Lion staff presented a check to the local food bank.  (L to R) Product Manager Gary Pitts, Customer Service Manager Shawn Kenney, Store Manager Jeremy Motley, Wells Manager Shelly Sassen and Assistant Store Manager Stacy Jones.

“The Well is so grateful to community partners like Food Lion, who walk alongside The Well so that together we can feed our community in need,” said Sassen. “The pantry transformation will also help create sustainability in operations and allow the pantry to serve more people.”

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Additionally, the pantry will receive a stable perishable food donation to stock the pantry and over $3,500 in Food Lion gift cards to support the pantry during the holidays and winter months.

Director of Community Programs, Anne Stern runs the JetPack program which provides food to students, who struggle with food insecurity over the weekend.

Hunger Action Month

Food Lion’s annual feeding campaign takes place every September to align with Hunger Action Montha time when Food Lion Feeds is deepening its partnership with the nonprofit Feeding America to raise awareness and inspire action to help those facing impossible choices resulting from food insecurity.

“We are proud to partner with The Well Outreach during Hunger Action Month to help raise awareness of this national effort to end hunger,” said Kevin Durkee, director, Food Lion Feeds, Food Lion. “The Great Pantry Makeover provides our associates with a great opportunity to connect with their neighbors while nurturing the cities and towns we serve.”

In its eighth year, Food Lion associates will volunteer to help the community with the initiative, this year volunteering to complete pantry upgrades at The Well.

Volunteer hours will include renovations ranging from painting and cleaning pantries to installing shelves, freezers, coolers and other equipment to increase capacity for fruits, vegetables and other fresh produce. In addition to performing the work, Food Lion associates will also stock the pantry shelves with food.

Anne Marie Stern, Director of JetPacks, at The Well Outreach in Spring Hill, packs non-perishable food items into a plastic bag so that food-insecure students at Maury County and Williamson County schools have sustenance additional during the weekend.

The Well Outreach exists to meet the hunger needs of the community. Well Outreach’s three main programs include a weekly food pantry, a Jetpack program, and mobile food pantries. In the pantry alone, the organization is seeing a record number of families served each month, recently serving more than 715 families in need in one month.

The Well Outreach also facilitates an average of 12-15 mobile pantries each year. For more information, please visit springhillwell.org.

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