HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Feeding America says the number of people who are food insecure in 2020 could rise to more than 50 million, this includes 17 million children. During the pandemic a lot of people have been struggling. And we’re seeing this right here in the Valley.
We checked in with the Food Bank of North Alabama. Representatives say they don’t see the demand slowing down any time soon.
Alabama was already one of the highest ranking states for food insecurity. During the pandemic, those numbers have just gone up. The Food Bank Of North Alabama has to work to fill that need every day, and that comes with a number of challenges.
We spoke with Bobby Bozeman, Development Director with Food Bank of North Alabama. He tells our reporter, “We’ve done about 1 million pounds of food a month during the pandemic.”
Bozeman says the organization distributed around 12 million pounds of food from September 2019 to September 2020.
Demand for food has been high during the pandemic, and the list of names needing assistance is just getting longer. Many people are receiving food assistance for the first time.
Bozeman tells us, “We saw a lot of the hospitality workers, especially during the late part of spring. We actually did a distribution of produce specifically for affected hospitality workers.”
The food bank faced some obstacles early on. He adds, “When we first started, we were dealing with a lot of supply chain issues. You may remember going to the grocery store and not seeing a lof of things there, especially in March and April. That was something we were dealing with.”
But, they had to quickly adapt to meet the need.
Bozeman says, “Our emergency food boxes and distributions… the drive thru food model is really easy and convenient for people who have never had to navigate this before. We also offer snap application assistance. You know, the SNAP application form can be very complicated. So, anyone who needs help with their SNAP application can call us.
The bigger load has had to be carried by fewer hands.
Bozeman explains, “We’ve had to cut back on volunteer opportunities during the early stages of the pandemic.”
They’re hoping to increase volunteer opportunities within the next few months.
And we’re told their food supply is slowly getting back to normal levels.
You can drop off food donations at the front of the building in the blue donation bin. The food bank is also in need of non-food items like diapers, which we're told is their most requested item.
The Food Bank of North Alabama warehouse building is located at 2000 B Vernon Ave Huntsville, AL.