UPPER CUMBERLAND – During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) has made adjustments to keep clients, staff, and volunteers safe while providing non-perishable items to those in need. 

Between April and June 2020, UCHRA’s commodities program has served more than 190,790 pounds of food worth more than $272,600 to 5,144 eligible households. 

“This program is especially important to the citizens of the Upper Cumberland; now more than ever due to the effects of COVID-19 on our local businesses,” said Rebecca Harris, UCHRA Deputy Director and Transportation/Services Director. 

UCHRA has implemented a series of safety protocols to ensure limited contact during the pandemic. These processes allow for limited in-person contact while ensuring that families in need continue to receive emergency food and nutrition assistance. For signups, clients can call into their local office and provide a staff member with the information needed for approval to receive commodities. The pickup process allows clients to drive up, check in, and have the commodities loaded into their vehicle by an attendant. 

UCHRA’s commodities program distributes non-perishable food items to low-income families who reside in the region’s 14-county area. Funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the commodities program provides emergency food and nutrition assistance to low-income families. 

To qualify for commodities assistance, certain eligibility requirements must be met. The recipient may show proof of eligibility for one or more of the following means-tested programs: SNAP, Families First, Supplemental Security Income, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), or documented residence in public housing. Another option is for the recipient to complete a signed self-declaration of income showing that the total amount of household income is below 185 percent of the current federal poverty income level.

The commodities program is funded under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee. For more information about UCHRA or the agency’s commodities program, contact your local UCHRA office or call (931) 528-1127. A list of commodities distribution events can also be found on the UCHRA Facebook page at facebook.com/uchumanresourceagency.