The Ray Smith Family Distribution Center, Camden, TN

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee helped celebrate its newest distribution center’s first anniversary last November 15th, and to say the facility ‘hit the ground running’ during that time is quite an understatement.

It’s an understatement because The Ray Smith Family Distribution Center has been helping more than 48,000 food insecure people within their fourteen-county service area.

The modern, well-lighted facility itself, at just under 26,000 square feet, has made use of every foot, with its warehouse area including refrigerated and freezer space to hold frozen or perishable foods, fresh produce, and rows of shelves storing non-perishable foods like peanut butter, macaroni and canned vegetables until distribution. It’s a big job, accepting, inventorying, storing and then getting that food into the hands of hungry families all across West Tennessee.

That big job doesn’t faze people at the center. Volunteers, age 12 and up, meet in their own area to sort and carefully pack food for families in cardboard cartons. In just their one year of full operation, almost 750 volunteers have contributed nearly 3500 hours of hard work, sorting more than half a million pounds of food.

That’s not the most astonishing figure, though – they’ve distributed enough pounds of food to make over three and a half million meals for those struggling with hunger.

So the city of Camden is rightfully proud of its new distribution center – and of the philanthropic folks who’ve helped fund and foresee the next steps in fighting hunger throughout their portion of Tennessee. The Center is named for Mr. Ray Smith, a man truly partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to halt hunger in its tracks. “Mr. Smith has been a champion fighting hunger with Second Harvest Food Bank since June of 2012. A resident and business leader in Carroll and Benton Counties (until January of 2019, he owned the local Chevrolet Buick dealership – for over 58 years), Mr. Smith was instrumental in the efforts to build the SHFB western branch to feed so many in our area. Mr. Ray Smith and his wife, Ms. Wilma, often stop by the food bank to see and hear about the lives changed,” said Donna Vick, Donor Relationships Manager – West.

People interested in volunteering may call Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, (615) 329-3491, or for help in getting food:

Once on site, click GET HELP and put in your county. The partner agencies closest to your location will be shown, with addresses, hours open, and phone numbers.

Or if you have no internet access, call Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee (615) 329-3491.

~ Terri-Jenkins Brady
LFN Team Blogger
Article published in the 2020 NWTN Local Food Guide