Thanks to a global information technology and communications company’s foundation, every dollar donated through an online portal from now through 11 p.m. on June 15 will be matched up to $1, up to a maximum match of $1 million nationwide. Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee is among nationwide beneficiaries of the global CenturyLink Campaign to Fight Hunger. The matches come through the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation.
The campaign began June 4 and goes to June 15. To be match eligible, donations must be submitted online at www.centurylink.com/fooddrive. Those donating must specify Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee as the recipient to get the match. The campaign website will close at 10 p.m. Central Standard Time (11 p.m. local time, Eastern Standard Time) June 15.
The CenturyLink foundation has partnered with more than 140 food banks, supporting communities where the company operates around the globe. Matching dollars will be allocated based on the amount of donations directed to each organization. CenturyLink is a landline phone and Internet provider through much of Northeast Tennessee. Over the past nine years, CenturyLink food drives, along with the matching dollars from the foundation, have contributed the equivalent of more than 56 million pounds of food to local food banks throughout the company’s U.S. service areas.
Ann Rhem, development director for Second Harvest of Northeast Tennessee, said as of Thursday morning $36,000 had been donated through the portal for the regional food bank. Last year, she said, the food bank locally received $86,000 from the program, half donations, half matches.
“We’d like to do at least $100,000,” Rhem said. Last year, she said the nationwide campaign match was a little less than the $1 million cap. She said the more donated to Second Harvest locally through the portal, the more likely it is that the true dollar-for-dollar match will be granted. Rhem said the plan is for Second Harvest to receive the donations made through the portal by the end of June and will get the match sometime in July.
Second Harvest of Northeast Tennessee serves an average of 43,000 people each month through partner agencies and direct service programs. For every dollar donated the food bank can provide up to four meals. “Second Harvest is supported by the communities we serve,” food bank Director Rhonda Chafin said. “This is a great opportunity for everyone to make a donation to help feed the hungry in Northeast Tennessee. We’re very excited about CenturyLink’s campaign.”
Headquartered in the old Sam’s Wholesale Club building off Exit 63 of Interstate 81, Second Harvest feeds the hungry by securing donations of food from national and local manufacturers, grocers and individuals then redistributing those donations to qualified nonprofit charities through food bank programs that feed the hungry in Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Washington and Unicoi counties. It is a 501c3 non-profit organization and is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest food bank network.
According to Feeding America, nearly 13 million children and more than 50 million seniors face hunger in the U.S. From a global perspective, Action Against Hunger says one in nine people worldwide do not get enough food to eat.