Grant funds new positions aimed at combating hunger at Chattanooga food bank

Gina Crumbliss, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, points out where different stations are located in the warehouse during the launch of Hunger Action Month at the Chattanooga Area Food Bank Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn.
photo A vegetable garden is seen behind the Chattanooga Area Food Bank on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The Chattanooga Area Food Bank will be adding five positions aimed at combating hunger across the region thanks to a federal grant.

The one-year assignments are part of the Volunteers in Service to America program and funding for those comes from the Corporation for National and Community Service and AmeriCorps.

"Positions will have responsibilities in several different areas, all of which will directly benefit our mission to lead a network of partners to eliminate hunger and promote better nutrition," said Sophie Moore, the food bank's director of community outreach. They will range from developing mobile pantries and planning summer feeding programs to community engagement and reaching out to farmers, according to the job posting.

The announcement was made last week and reflects a nearly $100,000 donation.

One in eight Chattanooga area residents - including one in five children - is food insecure, meaning they don't have reliable access to food, according to food bank officials.

Each year, the food bank distributes 12.7 million meals - 15.2 million pounds - to more than 136,000 residents in 20 counties in Tennessee and Georgia, Moore said. Programs include emergency food boxes, school mobile pantries, summer feeding sites, commodities distributions, sack packs and more. It's a daily task that affects more than 25,000 people each week, officials said.

And it's a costly effort.

The food bank's annual budget comes in at more than $27.7 million, which includes food, Moore said. And 97% of donations go toward food and programs.

Food bank officials said it's programs such as VISTA that help continue their mission.

"[They] will make lasting impacts on programs and efforts to expand our ability to address hunger," Moore said.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., took to Twitter on Thursday to celebrate the news.

"Good to hear that @NationalService and @AmeriCorpsVISTA is giving nearly $100K in grant money to @chattfoodbank to help those in need in the Chattanooga area," he said in a post.

For more information on the positions and to apply, visit

Contact staff writer Meg Scarbrough at or 423-757-6260. Follow her on Twitter @emdash13.