TLC Community Center prepares for annual Summer Food Program

Published 8:05 am Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The TLC Community Center is preparing for their annual Summer Food Program, and they are already asking for donations of food supplies to get them through the nine-week program.

Director Angie Odom said the program will run from June 3 to August 2.

The program brings daily meal deliveries to specific drop-off locations across Carter County, four days a week.

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“We are doing it at the exact same locations as last year, though we are adding several new locations in Watauga and Stoney Creek,” Odom said.

She said the food program is a way for students in need to receive meals they only get as part of their schooling. She came to an inspiration about the program 17 years ago during an abstinence class she taught in Carter County schools.

“I first looked for already existing programs to see if we could lend a hand, and I realized there were none,” she said.

After that, the program took off. She said the original plan of providing simple bags of sandwiches has evolved into providing three meals once a day: one hot meal for lunch, sandwiches and other food for dinner and breakfast items for the following morning.

“We cannot cook the meals and have the children come here,” Odom said. “Not many of them can make the trip over here, so we come to them instead.”

The center accommodates several vans and spreads out across the county delivering meals to dozens of locations.

Volunteers and donations come from a variety of churches and businesses in the area. Those interested can sponsor specific days during the program to pay for supplies.

In addition, Odom said they are looking for additional donations of non-perishable food items to add to the bags, so the children can have a little extra food to last them through the weekend.

“We tend to cook for about 425 children each day,” Odom said. “Even if we just add one can for each child, the math adds up.”

Those able to donate canned food items can do so at the TLC Community Center at 145 Judge Don Lewis Blvd., at a drop-off container at the front door.

“Families who can do so can pick up their meals at the center, but they have to do so before 11:30, because that is when we leave for our routes,” Odom said.

She said they are always looking for volunteers to assist with delivery and/or creating the food. Those interested can contact Odom at 423-895-8601.