• Nonprofit lending helping hand to thousands of needy Memphians during Easter holiday

    By: Kirstin Garriss


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Every year for 25 years, the nonprofit, 'Feed the Needy,' has given away thousands of food baskets during Thanksgiving and now the organization is giving them away right before the Easter holiday.

    A lot of us remember when so many Memphis nonprofts and businesses stepped to help government workers during the shutdown and 'Feed the Needy' was one of them. But now, this nonprofit is feeling the impact of that shutdown.

    This is how Ruth Rawlings-Banks spends her time before the Easter holiday -- giving away 45 lb. boxes full of food for those who need it the most.

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    "They can eat anywhere between 3 to 4 days or beyond," Banks said.

    Bank's nonprofit 'Feed the Needy' started this Easter basket giveaway four years ago.

    During the first giveaway, Banks said they fed 350 families and this year, Ruth was prepared to support 1,600 families.

    Until the government shutdown happened -- hitting a record-breaking 35 days and impacting families across Memphis.

    "We had to go into that 1,600 and pull almost 400 to help out with the government employees that were displaced during the shutdown," Banks said.

    According to Banks, 'Feed the Needy' spends $12,000 during the shutdown -- taking away money that would have been used for this Easter giveaway.

    Banks said it was a little disheartening that she couldn't help all 1,600 as planned.

    "Yes, because of the funding we had to use, the resources that we had to use, all that was allocated for this day and now I have received so many phone calls wondering if we're going to have any food baskets left," Banks said.

    But despite the setback, Banks' 1,100 families will have a meal this weekend.

    "I feel good knowing we have fed more than one person, this afternoon there are a lot of happy families," Banks said.

    Banks told FOX13 the nonprofit is working on getting more grants and fundraising, so they can prepare for their annual Thanksgiving giveaway. She said they are expecting to prepare and pack more than 4,000 baskets.

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