HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Food Bank of North Alabama is partnered with more than 250 organizations to get more food to people in need.
Because of the pandemic, these partners are seeing an increase in people needing help with getting food on the table.
"[The pandemic is] tripling or quadrupling the amount of people they are seeing, the amount of calls they're getting. What we're hearing from them is consistent with some of the numbers we're seeing from Feeding America," said Bobby Bozeman, development director at the Food Bank of North Alabama.
In 2019, the food bank distributed nearly 9 million meals. In 2020 during the pandemic, the food bank distributed about a million pounds of food a month.
"We're able to meet some of this need because we've increased our food purchasing, our food purchasing since the pandemic is over twice the fiscal year prior," said Bozeman.
The food bank also hosts events called mobile pantries, where instead of people having to go to the food bank or any of their partners, the food is brought to them. The amount of food given out has doubled due to the pandemic.
"But now, you know, before when we would go, even in May, we would take 250 food boxes, maybe 300 boxes, depending on the community that we were going to. And now we're up to, you know, we'll take 5, 600, 700 boxes to a mobile pantry and in both instances we might have been left with 25 boxes at the end of the day," said Bozeman.
Sadly, food insecurity has always been an issue, but now that some people are losing financial independence due to the economic downturn of the virus, more and more people are going hungry to help get by in other ways.
"People, when they're listing out there needs for their budget, usually food is the last thing people budget in their needs, you know, they're gonna take care of rent, around here their gonna take care of transportation, they're gonna take care of medical bills, gonna keep the lights on, and then they're gonna budget groceries. Food insecurity factors that in, sometimes people are just eating less or going hungry more often, they might have a little food in the pantry but their rationing it out more," said Bozeman.
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