By JOHN McBRYDE
A team from this year’s Leadership Franklin program has developed a project that addresses the issue of hunger throughout Williamson County, a concern that’s especially prevalent in the summer months.
The group, which consists of Jenny Clarke, Chris Whitney, Tony McAlister, Tina Lily and Steve Bacon, has named the project Mind the Gap, focusing on the fact that the period when schools are closed is when there’s a considerable gap in food being distributed to needy families.
“When summer comes, food donations in Williamson County really decline because everybody is going on vacation and doing other things when school is out,” Clarke said. “That is a time when food is needed more than ever, because kids that have access to the food at school aren’t at school to get that subsidy. There is also decline in the elderly community having access to food they need, having to make really difficult decisions that nobody should have to make in the wealthiest county about prescription medication vs. food.
“When we really learned more about the need in our community for food, we felt like this was a great project for us to tackle.”
The project will kick off Sunday at the Franklin Theatre, where folks can attend a movie at three different times and bring canned good items for donation. A truck from the nonprofit One Generation Away will be parked in front of the theater to accept the donations. Showing are “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” at 1 and 4 p.m. and “The Upside” at 7 p.m. (Whitney from the group is founder of One Gen Away.)
Mind the Gap will also hold a food drive from April 22 through May 3 at food box locations throughout Franklin. To find a complete list of food box locations, visit the Mind the Gap Facebook page.
“We wanted the project to be recognizable, and our hope is that this is not a one-time project,” Clarke said. “We want this to continue year after year. That’s our goal.”
Leadership Franklin was founded in 1996 to “enhance leadership in citizens who are positioned to make a difference for Franklin,” according to its website.