Hunger First receives largest donation in 20 years

Holly Viers • Dec 18, 2018 at 7:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Christmas came a week early at Hunger First.

On Tuesday morning, the nonprofit food pantry received more than $13,000 worth of donated food, including frozen meat, boxed goods, produce and canned items. Executive Director Michael Gillis said the donation was the largest Hunger First had received in 20 years.

Who made the donation?

The donation was made by McCoy’s Salvage Grocery and by Don and Pat Gray. McCoy’s Salvage matched the Grays’ donation, and altogether it added up to $13,620.07 in food, Gillis said.

“My parents, Don and Pat Gray, have kind and loving hearts. They are passionate about Hunger First and its objective to feed the hungry,” said the couple’s daughter, Leslie Gray Carberry. “Approximately 17,000 people in Kingsport are malnourished. We as a community have the power to change that, to make a difference. Giving to this charity is a gift from my family’s heart, a way to pay it forward, to show our appreciation of the people of this town and the kindnesses we have received over the years. We encourage others to donate — to give support that is desperately needed.”

Jamie McCoy of McCoy’s Salvage said his business has partnered with the Gray family for the last three years, and each year the donation goes to Hunger First.

“The Kingsport community has been great to my family, and I have a fabulous crew,” McCoy said. “I’m very blessed, and it’s just a good time to give back.”

A lasting impact

Gillis said the donation will be particularly helpful this time of year, when Hunger First typically serves more people. Gillis said McCoy allows him to choose the food items that are donated in order to best meet the needs of those Hunger First serves.

“This (donation) is probably about a quarter of what we do in groceries here at our pantry,” Gillis said. “It’s probably about three months’ worth — maybe a little bit more or less, depending on how many we feed. This will definitely help us throughout this winter for sure.”