With need rising, Jonesborough food pantry adds extra pickup day, looking for volunteers

Jonathan Roberts • Apr 2, 2020 at 8:32 AM

JONESBOROUGH — With the need for essential supplies like groceries rising amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association is adding a second distribution day at its food pantry to assist families in need throughout Jonesborough, Telford and Limestone.

“We just anticipate that the need is going to grow, and that’s why we wanted to go to two days instead of one,” said association President Karen Lane.

And while the need has increased, Lane said the pantry has also seen an increase in donations — particularly since the town of Jonesborough established a helpline and started collecting donations on the pantry’s behalf last week. Speaking to the Press about the initiative, Jonesborough Mayor Chuck Vest said it’s “up to us to make sure we take care of our community here.”

Lane, meanwhile, said the community response has been “quite awesome.”

“It’s the whole community coming together,” Lane said, “not just a few people.”

Chad Williams, of First Baptist Church in Jonesborough, is among those trying to do their part to help the community. Williams and several other members of the church volunteered for the first time Tuesday evening, and will be back next week, packing and distributing goods to those in needs.

“It’s been a real blessing to work with JAMA food pantry and the folks up here, and we look forward to being able to serve the community and sharing the gospel,” Williams said.

Lane said it takes about eight people to operate the distribution center, along with additional volunteers who help with stocking shelves and unloading donations. Anyone looking to volunteer is asked to call Lane at (423) 753-3942. Lane said adding more volunteers is “very important.”

“There’s no way we could do the extra day if we didn’t have new volunteers,” Lane said.

The JAMA Food Pantry is in the Elmer Gillespie Building, 1521 Persimmon Ridge Road, in Jonesborough near Wetlands Water Park. The pantry is open for distribution on Tuesdays from 4-7 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m.-noon. Nonperishable food items can be donated at the Jonesborough Senior Center parking lot from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Monday-Friday and at Jonesborough United Methodist Church from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

“I think it’s extremely important for the community to know that we’re here for them and for us to be able to step up and take care of the community,” Lane said.