Volunteers pack more than 200,000 pounds of food for needy families

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A 26-year-old charitable tradition is continuing this year despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Volunteers with Feed the Needy will spend the week packing food into boxes to distribute to 3,500 impoverished families Saturday.  

“You have your spaghetti, your pasta, your chicken, your turkeys,” said Ruth Rawlings Banks who founded Feed the Needy in 1994.                                                                                                                                                

Families are referred to Feed the Needy by churches, civic groups and other organizations. Each family will receive close to 65 pounds of food this year. 

“What’s in there will last them more than seven days,” Rawlings Banks said.  

The COVID-19 pandemic threatened hamper this year’s efforts.  

Soaring food prices meant some staples couldn’t be obtained and social distancing requirements forced Feed the Needy to limit the number of volunteers packing boxes.  

“We normally take one day to pack over 3,500 boxes,” said Rawlings Banks.  

This year, the packing is taking place over five days.  

Employees of Shelby County Schools, the Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office will help deliver the boxes Saturday. 

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