Pellissippi State aims to ‘Pack the Pickup’

Lesli Bales-SherrodOur Town Teens, West Knox

How much food can fit in the bed of a pickup truck?

Pellissippi State Community College is hoping the answer is 10,694 items. That’s the college’s goal for this year’s TBR (Tennessee Board of Regents) Annual Food Drive.

“Our theme is Pack the Pickup,” said Drema Bowers, director of Student Care and Advocacy, noting that the goal equals the number of students enrolled at Pellissippi State this fall. “We are collecting donations, and then we will meet with our community partners on Dec. 6 to pack a pickup with our donations.”

All five campuses in Knox and Blount counties will be collecting food items along with community partners Regions Bank on Hardin Valley Road, Integrity HR Services, King University, Food City, Maple Street Biscuit Company, Cotton-Eyed Joe and Sitel.

“We are fortunate to have so many of our local businesses support our Pellissippi Pantry,” Bowers said. “They understand the challenges that some college students experience, including food insecurity, and they are eager to help.”

A Pellissippi State student places donated food into a box on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus.

The Pellissippi Pantry provides food for Pellissippi State students and their families. At this time last year, Bowers said, there were 67 participants. There are 98 this year representing 305 people in participants’ families.

“I think what I’ve learned most by participating in the food drive is that there are more people than you think that have food insecurity,” said Pellissippi State student Amberlie John. “Being provided with the numbers of last year’s participants in total versus where we are just three months into the academic year is astounding.”

Financial contributions may be made this year in lieu of purchasing items, Bowers said. Every dollar donated equals two units of food. You can give directly online at the Pellissippi State Foundation. Info: 865-539-7417 or

Lesli Bales-Sherrod does marketing and writing for Pellissippi State Community College.

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