‘It’s Bruin Time in the Community’ takes ‘Nashville’s University’ off campus to support hometown efforts
Proving that many hands do indeed make light–and fun–work, more than 150 Belmont faculty and staff teamed together Thursday to volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, a nonprofit founded in 1978 that works to feed hungry people and solve hunger issues in Middle and West Tennessee. Last year alone, Second Harvest’s fleet of 19 trucks covered 533,374 miles rescuing and delivering food to a network of more than 450 partner agencies and directly to hungry children, families and seniors throughout a 46-county service area.
Belmont’s annual faculty/staff service project, which the University dubbed “It’s Bruin Time in the Community,” began last year with employees spending a morning painting at Hunters Lane High School.
This year, with Vision 2020 ideals in mind, Belmont employees registered to serve during one of two three-hour shifts as part of the University’s ongoing commitment to be “‘Nashville’s University’, aligning Belmont’s vision and resources with the ever-changing needs of the people in our community.” Divided into two teams upon arrival at Second Harvest’s Martin Distribution Center, one group was tasked with sorting enormous cartons of sweet potatoes into 5 lb bags, which would be weighed for accuracy and packed for shipping to food pantries and churches.
Social Work Department Secretary Patsy Peach said, “I love to volunteer. It’s my nature, and it’s fun to do with a group. It’s awesome that Belmont emphasizes giving back to the community and that faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in that as well as our students.”
“During April’s Volunteer Appreciation Month, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is celebrating the thousands of volunteers who dedicate their time to help feed hungry people in our community,” added Heidi Tieslau, community relations manager at Second Harvest. “We could not do what we do every day without the support from the community, and we are grateful for Belmont’s service to Second Harvest.”
Tanya Owen, a housekeeping employee who celebrated her 5-year anniversary with the University last week, agreed. “I love it. I love helping people through community service. It’s wonderful that Belmont gives us the time to do things like this.”
A second group of faculty and staff members donned jackets and gloves and entered into a 40 degree refrigeration room to sort frozen meat and other products for packing and shipping. Social Media and Digital Marketing Specialist Lougan Bishop serves as chair of the University Staff Advisory Council, the group that helped pull together all of the logistics for the day-long community service project. “As part of our goal to be ‘Nashville’s University,’ it’s important that we help our city and work to make it an even better place to live,” Bishop said. “We all love Nashville and want to help out however we can. ‘It’s Bruin Time in the Community’ affords us time to step out of our offices and really make a difference locally.”
Between the morning and afternoon shifts, Belmont employees sorted more than 15,000 lbs. of frozen foods and 30,000 lbs. of sweet potatoes for packing and delivery. Click here to see additional photos of the event.