Chattanooga Chamber MidTown Council and Partners Fight Hunger

Amanda Ellis

Believe it or not, we'll soon be heading into the holiday season, indulging in festive Thanksgiving food and being intentional when it comes to gratitude and giving back. The giving part of the season is even more important in a year like 2020, with a pandemic that has challenged us in many ways, including economically. Pew Research Center says the unemployment rate may have gone as high as 16% during the COVID-19 pandemic, by the U.S. government’s estimate. With that comes additional food insecurity for people across the country. 

The Chattanooga Area Food Bank serves about 18 zip codes through voucher and emergency food box programs. Approximately 10% of requests are from the Brainerd zip code, 37411. In response, the Chamber’s MidTown Council convened community stakeholders to help fight hunger in their footprint by creating the Brainerd Community Food Pantry. The Pantry opened Oct. 14 at Brainerd United Methodist Church as faith-based, business and nonprofit community partners work together to fight hunger.

“The Brainerd community has seen a significant increase in the need for food from its most vulnerable residents. The time to act and come together to care for our neighbors is now,” says Bess Steverson, MidTown Council President and the Food Pantry’s Advisory Board Chair. 

The Brainerd Community Food Pantry is modeled after the Red Bank Community Pantry, which serves 175 families, about 800 people, twice a month. Due to the size of the Brainerd community, the Food Pantry Advisory Board anticipates serving a larger number of families and individuals.

Like the Red Bank Pantry, the Brainerd Community Food Pantry partners with the Chattanooga Area Food Bank to access resources the food bank offers through their association with Feeding America, such as bulk buying power. Through this partnership, financial donations to the Brainerd Community Food Pantry allow for buying in bulk from the Chattanooga Food Bank at a discounted rate, providing four meals per $1.

Brainerd Community Food Pantry distribution is twice monthly:

● Second Wednesday of the month from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

● Fourth Wednesday of the month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

No voucher is required for the Brainerd Community Food Pantry, but for food needs outside of the days of operation, call 211, United Way’s local resource hotline, to receive a voucher for the nearest partner agency. 

Visit to donate, sign up to volunteer and learn more about the Brainerd Community Food Pantry.

You Can Fight Hunger Too

Get involved today by volunteering to:    

  • Help with second or fourth Wednesday operation
  • Help organize food on shelves and move delivered food to the pantry
  • Help recruit businesses to hold food drives
  • Help unpack food or pack boxes in the days before the food pantry runs
  • Help find corporate and local business sponsors
  • Help pick up food from food drives and retail locations

Volunteers can commit to helping once a month, twice a month, every other month or as their schedule permits. Groups can volunteer together. 

Other Topics

In 2019, Finland-based tire manufacturer Nokian Tyres opened its first North American Plant in Rhea County, thanks in part to the influence of the Greater Chattanooga Economic Partnership (GCEP). Wes Boling, Senior Manager of Communications, Nokian Tyres, explains that the…

Chamber Chatt is a video series offering community members the chance to hear from elected officials and those in public service.  This month’s Chamber Chatt was recorded live inside the Chattanooga Chamber’s Connection Conference Center, Powered by EPB.  Matt Phillips,…

The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce announced the promotion of Yolonda Hayslett, MBA, SHRM-CP, to Vice President, Finance and Operations. She will continue to be responsible for leading and managing a team that handles member-investor services initiatives, accounting, finance, human…

As the sun sets on another Protégé Chattanooga session, a bright future emerges for Chattanooga's young leaders. Over a nine-month period, Protégé Chattanooga participants connected with their peers and area business and community leaders to develop their business and civic-engagement…

In the ever-evolving professional landscape of today, the significance of prioritizing mental health in the workplace has surged to the forefront of discussions surrounding the creation and promotion of a healthy workplace environment. Acknowledging mental health is an important aspect…

Chattanooga Zoo, BNI Southeast Tennessee, (Be) Caffeinated, and Master Machine Inc., were recognized for growth and overall performance as they received top honors at the 2023 Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce Awards program, presented by Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel P.C.…

Sign up for weekly updates.