HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Publix Charities on Tuesday, September 14, donated $100,000 and 327,106 pounds of produce to Food Bank of North Alabama as a part of National Hunger Action Month.
Publix says this month is meant to raise awareness and inspire people to help fight global hunger. Citing Feeding America, Publix said 10.9% of Americans face food insecurity and in Alabama, that number is higher at 16%. They say food banks saw an unprecedented increase in demand in 2020.
Food Bank of North Alabama also got another big gift in the form of a refrigerator truck and cash donation from the Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation.
Darden, parent company of Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, donated trucks and money to 10 food banks to help them feed their communities. Three of these are in Alabama, including one in our area.
Food Bank of North Alabama will get a a 26-foot vehicle that can move 12,000 pounds of food at a time and $26,000 to use for food and other needs.
The program is a partnership between the Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation, and support from partners Penske Truck Leasing and Lineage Logistics. “Feeding people is what we do, but the hard reality is that there are still too many families in communities we serve who struggle to put a meal on the table,” said Gene Lee, Chairman and CEO of Darden Restaurants. “We’re uniquely positioned to help, and by leveraging our scale and relationships with partners like Penske Truck Leasing and Lineage Logistics, we’re proud to do our part to help get food into the hands of people who need it.”
Food banks receiving grants include:
- Community Food Bank of Central Alabama in Birmingham, AL
- East Texas Food Bank in Tyler, TX
- Feeding the Gulf Coast in Theodore, AL
- Feeding Northeast Florida in Jacksonville, FL
- Feeding Tampa Bay in Tampa, FL
- Food Bank of North Alabama in Huntsville, AL
- Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana in Monroe, LA
- Forgotten Harvest in Detroit, MI
- Mississippi Food Network in Jackson, MS.
- Tarrant Area Food Bank in Fort Worth, TX
In Madison County, the CASA Community Garden grows and delivers food for the area’s most vulnerable population.
According to CASA Garden Services Coordinator Susan Lee, all the food grown goes onto the table of seniors in Madison County.
“We have lima beans. We have green beans. We have pink-eyed purple-holed peas. We have two types of okra planted. We’ve got squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers,” said Lee.
CASA of Madison County Services Coordinator Lauren Wilson Carter says the average CASA client live on approximately $14,000 a year.
“Many [clients] don’t drive,” said Lee. Even if they do have a way to get to the store, they can’t afford produce because it’s very expensive. We have a lot of clients who have health issues, high blood pressure and diabetes. These fresh vegetables, nutritious vegetables, they can use to supplement their diets and it also keeps them healthier.”
If you want to volunteer at the garden, stop by during their open hours to sign up. The garden is located at 4725 Bob Wallace Avenue in Huntsville, Alabama. Visit CASA of Madison County’s website to find the garden’s hours of operation.