First Presbyterian giving out breakfast food bags to those in need

Holly Viers • Apr 27, 2020 at 2:00 PM

KINGSPORT — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, one local church is making sure people don’t miss out on the most important meal of the day.

For the last five weeks, First Presbyterian Church in Kingsport has been providing breakfast food bags on the weekends for anyone in need. Sarah Good, church member and organizer of the food bag effort, estimates that well over 1,000 bags have been distributed so far.

“There are more people who are out of work now,” Good said, “and people who were in kind of precarious situations anyway, it’s just a little more right now. So everybody kind of needs some help.”

Getting started

The food bag distribution began as a way to fill the gap created by the temporary closure of First Broad Street United Methodist Church’s Friendship Diner, which served breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

“They had to close because of all the restrictions, because people come in and get a hot meal there and sit down and eat,” Good said. “So they weren’t able to continue that.”

As she and her 8-year-old daughter were discussing ways to fill that need, Good said the idea came to put together bags of breakfast foods to hand out on the weekends.

How it works

A small number of church volunteers package the food on Fridays and distribute the bags each Saturday and Sunday from 7-8 a.m. at the church, located at 100 W. Church Circle.

Members of First Presbyterian have donated to the effort, and First Broad Street UMC and Waverly Road Presbyterian Church have also provided some of the food, Good said.

The bags contain nonperishable breakfast foods, such as Pop Tarts, fruit cups, juice boxes, crackers and similar items. Volunteers not only hand out meals at the church on weekends, but they have also partnered with Engage Tri-Cities and the United Way to provide breakfast every day to 32 homeless people who are currently staying in a local hotel.

How to help

The church is accepting monetary donations to support the effort. Checks can be mailed to First Presbyterian Church, 100 W. Church Circle, Kingsport, TN 37660, with “breakfast bags” on the memo line.

“We are going to continue until First Broad Street’s Friendship Diner is able to fully open back up, and after that we may kind of shift our focus,” Good said. “We’ll continue with (providing meals for homeless at the hotel) as long as they have people housed there.”

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