Summer Food Program launches at TLC

The school year is coming to a close, and hundreds of children will now go without a reliable source of food on a daily basis. The TLC Community Center, however, is already stocked up and ready to drive food right to the children’s doorsteps.

Director Angie Odom said the Summer Food Program begins next Monday, and already they have pallets worth of food.

“I get very excited,” Odom said. “It is like preparing for Christmas.”

The center will hand-deliver hot meals and other assorted food items to over a dozen locations throughout the summer, starting next week and going until August.

“I have been going from pillar to post looking for suppliers,” Odom said, having recently returned from a food order in Kingsport.

This is a program Odom has put on for more than 15 years, sending multiple vans across two separate routes throughout the county to bring the food to children who cannot obtain it any other way.

“It is for the kids without any transportation,” Odom said. “These are kids who cannot get this food from other programs.”

She said part of why she continues to do the program is to see children she does not get to see otherwise.

“I have developed relationships with the kids since last summer,” she said. “I will get to see some of them again.”

Though it may appear to be for younger children specifically, she said any child still in school is eligible to receive food bags from this service.

Odom said they always need volunteers for a program as large as this, both in cooking and for transportation.

She said volunteers assisting with cooking the food should expect to arrive at the center located at 145 Judge Don Lewis Blvd. around 10 a.m. each day.

“So many of us are in our own world, yet there is a huge amount of the community who does not have their own car,” Odom said.

She said those interested can get their Tennessee Promise hours with the center as part of this program, as well. Children under 15 years of age needed a parent with them, while the rest just need a permission slip. She said volunteers should contact her at 423-895-8601 to set up a time when they can best help.

Children and parents who can do so are more than welcome to come to the center itself between 11 and 11:30 a.m. each day to pick up their food, but after that point, Odom said the vans leave to make their deliveries.

The program will run from Monday, June 3, to Friday, Aug. 2, during which time they will make deliveries every Monday through Friday, except for July 4 and 5, saying the volunteers will be too scattered during the holidays.

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