This week The Nashville Food Project will share more than double the meals we served this week last year! In a "normal" week (we're always figuring out what that means), we’re currently sharing 3,000 delicious, nutritious meals and snacks each week as compared to 1,200 weekly meals only a year ago. This growth is the result of adding a second kitchen to our ranks, increasing meal prep opportunities for volunteers and the smart-working instinct and intellect of our meals team. But it's also due in large part to an intentional transition in the way that many of our meals are shared.
While our volunteers still share many of our meals in parking lots alongside our food trucks, now roughly 2,200 of the meals and snacks we make each week are delivered to and served by our community partners. Of these 2,200 meals, roughly 900 are prepared in our South Hall kitchen by incredible volunteers and then loaded into our food trucks to be delivered to our meal distribution partners by our staff. The nonprofit partner handles the coordination and facilitation of sharing the meal with its clients and in its community.
This change was made in response to the needs expressed by our community partners. Many came to us with the same problem and asked us how we might be of the solution: They knew that offering a meal or some food for their clients and communities would improve participation and engagement in their programs, but lacking the time and know-how, many were spending their precious resources on pizza and fast food. These partners wanted a way to strengthen their programs with food they would be proud to serve. At the same time, we at The Nashville Food Project were actively looking for ways to broaden the impact of our meals, so that they might come alongside some other kinds of work and programming to alleviate the burdens of being poor.
A significant change in our meals structure also meant we needed to make a change in our food trucks, and we have longtime corporate partner and enthusiastic supporter Triumph Aerostructures to thank for making that happen! Over the past few months, Triumph modified our food trucks to provide capacity to hold 24 full-size catering pans at temperature on each truck. This means that on a single itinerary we can now share up to 300 meals and snacks in the community! It’s been a small change that has had a BIG impact on how we're working to cultivate community and alleviate hunger in our city.