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Knoxville business chain leads food drive

Fusion Tanning Studios, with five Knoxville locations, including one in Farragut, partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank, for its inaugural “Tans for Cans” food drive.

During the months of October and November, Fusion raised approximately 2,000 pounds of canned and non-perishable food items in exchange for free tanning sessions.

“We basically just wanted to give back,” Lisa Conrad, a Fusion spokesperson, said.

“We’ve experienced a lot of our clients feeling like they haven’t been able to give as much as they normally would have been because of economic issues.

“So we thought, what a great way to give them something and allow them to give to other people and the less fortunate,” she added.

All Fusion locations gave free tanning sessions to clients who donated five or more cans to Second Harvest Food Bank.

These clients also were entered into a drawing to win a free year of tanning.

“There are so many homeless and needy and hungry in East Tennessee alone, and this was something [in which] we could directly affect the people in our community,” Conrad said.

Second Harvest services an 18-county area, serving meals through food donated to the Food Bank.

“We work with food partners and we have six different programs,” Second Harvest director Elaine Streno said.

“Last year, we were able to provide eight million meals through the 11.2 million pounds of food we distributed,” she added.

This year, Streno said the need for assistance is greater: from October 2007 to October 2008, Second Harvest has seen an increase in requests from 110,000 to 140,000.

“It’s just been phenomenal the support we’ve been getting, but the demand has been up too,” Streno said.

“We have distributed one million pounds of food in the last four months.

“We are very grateful to any entity that chooses to support us, either through doing a food drive or a money drive,” Streno said.

Fusion plans to make Tans for Cans an annual event.


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