19, 2007 - Mayor Bill Haslam participated in a groundbreaking
ceremony for the new FISH Hospitality Pantry at 122 W. Scott Avenue.
The ceremony was at 1 p.m., Tuesday, June 19. The new, nearly
8,000-square-foot facility dedicated to better serving the hungry
in Knoxville and Knox County should be completed and open later
FISH Hospitality Pantries is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization
that provides food at no charge to hungry families and individuals
in the city and county, no questions asked.
FISH, serves about 5,000 households here each month.
Individual donors, churches from several different denominations
and other organizations provide food and money to make it work.
"This is a wonderful organization that helps so many people
in our city," Haslam said. "It doesn't matter who they
are, or what they look like or how they came to be in need, FISH
is there for them."
"This new building will have a great impact in terms of helping
the volunteers at FISH Hospitality Pantries better carry out their
mission to feed the hungry," he added.
FISH, which has no paid staff, provides bags of food to those in
need from pantries that operate out of area churches in different
areas of the city.
The new building will serve two main purposes according to Jim
Wright, Director of Fish Hospitality Pantries.
It will serve as a reliable and accessible food pantry for neighborhoods
west of Broadway including the Mechanicsville, Lonsdale and Beaumont
neighborhoods among others.
FISH had previously served those neighborhoods out of a pantry
on 17th Street before losing that space.
Secondly Wright said the new building - which includes cooler and
freezer storage - would give the organization the flexibility to
accept food items it has had to pass on previously.
"It will give us storage space for large donations,"
Wright said. "It will mean more food for hungry Knoxville families."
Storage has been a serious problem for the group.
"We were missing a lot of opportunities," said Harry
Wade, a Knoxville businessman who co-chaired the FISH "Building
for Food" campaign along with Bill Landry of WBIR-TV's "Heartland
Series." "Someone would call in and say we have a truckload
here of sausage and we couldn't take it."
The new building will "allow us to store food and also take
it in bulk (for example a 55-gallon drum of food) and break it down"
into useable portions," Wade said.
Wright, Wade and Landry were among the speakers at Tuesday's groundbreaking.