Community Care During COVID: Rising to the Challenge of Hunger in Knoxville

A LHP Management resident manager wrote this thank you note, expressing how much food deliveries mean to residents right now.
Truck2Table is using its existing technology to help connect those in need of food with fresh, nutritious meals in Knoxville.
Truck2Table staff delivers approximately 700 healthy meal kits and grocery bags per week to those in need of food during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Truck2Table’s technology sources healthy, nutritious foods at a low cost.

As we face down coronavirus, The Humana Foundation’s partners are hard at work, supporting the health of their communities. Organizations receiving Strategic Community Investment Program (SCIP) or Community Partner Program (CPP) funding are pivoting, diverting their resources and energy to where they are most needed. We are sharing stories highlighting our partners work during the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, today featuring a SCIP partner in Knoxville – InterFaith Health Clinic and the Truck2Table pilot program.

 

Coronavirus is causing us to change the way we approach everything, including ideas that may potentially solve complex community problems like food security and hunger.

Truck2Table (T2T) is a pilot initiative between InterFaith Health Clinic and Synergasia Health Technologies in Knoxville working to bolster social connectedness and food security. Funded by The Humana Foundation’s Strategic Community Investment Program, T2T built a complex software model capable of sourcing affordable food for healthy, convenient meals kits while also reducing food waste. To help build on their work, T2T had planned to conduct a study to validate the impact of healthy food on diet-related disease.

However, social distancing and quarantine measures designed to keep us safe and healthy from COVID-19 derailed those plans. It was no longer plausible to hold cooking demonstrations at housing facilities or bring together groups of people at farmers markets. And, other sources of food ordinarily available are now more difficult to access, as many more people look to food banks for nutritional support.

T2T shifted and began figuring out how to continue helping those struggling with hunger during the pandemic. The nurses and patient coordinators at InterFaith Health Clinic originally dedicated to the T2T pilot program turned their attention to COVID-19 response. T2T solved the need to identify people screening positive for food security issues by partnering with LHP Management, an affordable housing management company overseeing numerous low income and senior housing facilities in Knoxville.

Using their existing technology designed to locate food at risk of going to waste, T2T sourced even more food. T2T staff began packaging groceries and meal kits, delivering food to the front door of LHP Management residents and helping those experiencing higher needs and lower mobility during the COVID-19 crisis.

Since early April, the T2T team averages assembling and delivering more than 700 meal and grocery kits per week to LHP Management residents in need. And, it’s becoming clear that T2T’s technology can help fill some major gaps in their community.

“Truck2Table and its team have been a great partner during this time of COVID crisis when many of our low-income residents are challenged in getting food supplies. The children are home from school where they normally are fed during the day, and our elderly and disabled residents represent the most vulnerable populations. Truck2Table has been a great partner and provided hundreds of grocery bags of healthy food so desperately needed by our residents. We are grateful for their leadership and generosity.”

Bob Martineau President LHP Management

This pivot is not always easy. Like many other community organizations, T2T struggles with adjusting to social distancing and safety requirements like PPE masks. They also struggle with the storage space required to distribute a large amount of groceries. Regardless of the issue, the T2T team is rising to the challenge and putting forth additional effort to continue its mission despite COVID-19.

 

Are you looking for ways to help those impacted by COVID-19? Consider donating to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund, established to help the millions of Americans who will turn to food banks for much-needed support via emergency food boxes, drive-thru pantries and long-term support. If you would like to help your community, look for local emergency funds. If you are a Humana employee and want to make a charitable donation or volunteer to aid COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts, please visit Humana Together, Humana’s internal resource for finding and tracking volunteer and giving opportunities. And, if you have volunteer opportunities related to COVID-19 to share with Humana employees, please create a profile with Benevity, the platform that powers Humana Together.

In Knoxville, United Way of Greater Knoxville established the Knox County COVID-19 Response Fund to support local nonprofits providing essential services during the pandemic.

CategoriesBold GoalKnoxvilleNutrition and Food SecurityStrategic Community Investment Program
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