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Keeping the food trucking

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
One of the many hindrances that the pandemic of 2020 has created is a roller coaster effect on local food ministries.

ARM (Assistance and Resource Ministry) of Carter County is one of those ministries that because of a dedicated group of supporters, volunteers, and staff has been able to keep the door open to help those citizens who are in need that might not otherwise have enough.

For statistical purposes, the ministry serves upwards of 530 families and over 1,100 individuals on a monthly basis with a day in November already serving 141 clients due to the month being a particularly busy month due to the upcoming holiday season and winter on the horizon as boxes are filled to the max with good, healthy food.

Those that are served can expect to take home items such as home dairy products, frozen meat, fresh vegetables, wholesome bread, and an assortment of boxed and canned goods.

One of the challenges that face the ministry is that these items come on pallets loaded on heavy trucks.

The ministry had a truck that it was using but due to one mechanical issue after another, the truck was making things way too difficult to make sure to bring in the loads of food that are picked up to bring to the ministry.

“Our previous truck, purchased used two years ago, was essentially a proverbial ‘lemon’ and the repairs were draining us financially with still no dependability,” Scott Reynolds stated.

To that end, the ministry was able to acquire another used box truck recently that should prove serviceable for years to come. With the truck now in hand, being able to bring the needed necessities to ARM for its clients should flow more smoothly.

“Having the food on-site is essential to the operation and we were at the mercy of others delivery schedules, Reynolds added. “During the rental period, our reserved and promised truck was not to be available by the leader.

“A large delivery truck is absolutely vital to our work, as every week we transport tons of fruits, vegetables, bread and other items from Sam’s Club and Walmart, and make routine trips to gather food from ministries like Second Harvest or various local food drives.”

The truck purchased by the ministry was a 2015, 26-foot International box truck with a reliable Cummins diesel engine. The truck came with a price tag of $26,000 with the ministry having to pay out $478 per month.

Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to move forward and ARM realized that the purchase was something that was definitely warranted but now must figure out how to manage an already tight budget while making sure to help citizens in need.

“This was a gigantic leap of faith for the ARM leadership, but we believe the people of Carter County will come to the aid of nearly thirty years of service food pantry,” Reynolds stated.

“Making a big purchase like this will pinch our already stretched budget for years to come.”

Reynolds said that he and the leadership team are trusting that the citizens of Carter County will come alongside of ARM Ministries and help to ensure that the needs of those in the county in need of food will be met.

Anyone wanting to donate may send in a monetary gift for the project and can designate your gift to “Box Truck” and send it to ARM, 714 West C Street, Elizabethton, TN 37643.

Also, one can call the ministry at 423-542-0919 and make arrangements with Director Faye Ingram to drop your gift off.

Reynolds said that the service was available to any resident of Carter County with a need as the ministry is willing to help with food for the household.