One in seven Nashvillians do not have access to the food they want and need.
The Nashville Food Project is a community organization that brings people together to grow, cook and share nourishing food with others.
Founded by Tallu Schuyler Quinn, Harpeth Hall's 2020 Alumnae Spirit of Service Award recipient and a 1998 graduate, the Nashville Food Project's model is based on the belief that hunger is connected to issues like affordable housing, healthcare, and systemic racism.
September is Hunger Action Month, and Harpeth Hall students are leading an effort in partnership with students at Ensworth and the University School of Nashville to collect food for the Nashville Food Project and to do their part in addressing hunger within our community.
"We wanted to start this drive, because we felt like it would be an impactful and safe way to help food-insecure families," said Harpeth Hall senior Clara Murff, one of the food drive organizers. "The Nashville Food Project was also founded by a Harpeth Hall alum, so it provides a great opportunity to support a member of our own smaller Harpeth Hall community."
To participate, Harpeth Hall students can bring donations and place them in bins around campus anytime from September 16-25. The community is invited to participate in a drive-thru drop off from 9-11 a.m. on September 19 at the Middle School's Hobbs Road entrance.
The Nashville Food Project's most-needed items include: Whole wheat penne pasta, extra virgin olive oil, brown rice, shelf-stable containers of bone broth and chicken, beef, or vegetable broth or stock. Nashville Food Project cooks in big quantities, so large packages are welcome.
Nashville Food Project's approach is different from "emergency" food, because the organization believes "that all the food in the world will not solve hunger." Instead, Nashville Food Project serves hot, healthful meals in partnership with more than 40 nonprofits across Nashville that work to disrupt poverty in various ways. The work is often focused on at-risk youth, refugees, homeless and meals for seniors.
Food drives like those happening at Harpeth Hall support Nashville Food Project's meals program. Right now, the organization prepares and shares about 4,500 meals a week.
"COVID-19 has impacted us individually in so many ways; however, it is important to see the bigger picture on how it has impacted our community, especially those who are less fortunate," said Harpeth Hall senior Taylor Kappelman, who is also helping to organize the food collection.
"This food drive allows us to maintain physical distance while at the same time come together and unifying over one cause: Hunger in Nashville."
Honoring the Selfless Spirit of a beloved alumnae
Finding value in struggle is one of the life skills Nashville Food Project founder Tallu Schuyler Quinn connects to her experience at Harpeth Hall, along with searching for creative solutions to multi-faceted problems.
In a Hallways magazine article honoring her work, Tallu reflected gratefully on having received encouragement from faculty to simply be herself and to dive deeply into her varied interests.
In her case, she has always enjoyed cooking, learning about agriculture, social justice, and people. She is also passionate about eradicating poverty and noted, "for me, that was a bunch of things that turned into a career I love, and I'm lucky for that."
Her affirmative experiences at Harpeth Hall are reflected in her hopes for current students and young alumnae looking to build a better world: "When we have the privilege of piecing together or finding a fit in the world to make us come alive and affect the community around us, that's a gift," she said in a Spring 2020 article published in Hallways.
Tallu emphasized that today's students have multiple avenues through which to effect change, because "any big lasting positive social change requires effort from every angle. You can do that in industry, through research, in education and teaching, with on-the-ground activism, by writing influential books or starting a podcast."
The Harpeth Hall students organizing this month's food drive hope this initiative is another way to live out the school's mission to think critically, lead confidently and live honorably.
"Harpeth Hall strives to think critically, and I think that this drive proves that we can do so and apply it to real-world scenarios," Clara Murff said. "Even when it may be easier to not do any service because of the coronavirus, we have (metaphorically) come together to donate to the Nashville Food Project!"
Join Harpeth Hall in supporting Nashville Food Project
September is Hunger Action Month, and Harpeth Hall students are joining forces with Ensworth and the University School of Nashville in a food drive with the goal to collect the biggest donation of much-need pantry items the Nashville Food Project has ever received. We need your help!
Who: Harpeth Hall students and the Nashville community
What: Food Drive for Nashville Food Project's wish list:
· whole wheat penne pasta
· extra virgin olive oil
· brown rice
· shelf-stable containers of bone broth
· chicken, beef, or vegetable broth or stock
*Since NFP cooks in big quantities, they welcome large containers and packages.
When: Community drive-thru drop off, 9-11 a.m. on September 19; Student drop off in bins around campus September 16-25.
Where: Harpeth Hall Middle School drop-off driveway (3801 Hobbs Road entrance)
Why: To benefit the Nashville Food Project and to do our part in addressing hunger within our community. We also honor our 2020 Alumnae Spirit of Service Award recipient and founder of the Nashville Food Project, Tallu Schuyler Quinn '98.
Other Details: To follow safety protocol, we ask that you please wear a mask, remain in your car, and place your donations in your backseat or trunk prior to arriving. Masked student volunteers will come to your car to collect the items during drop-off.