HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — There are a lot of people going through hard times during the pandemic. Food pantries are more crucial than ever as food insecurity rises. We met with one pantry that had to turn people away Friday because shelves are empty.
Any other Friday afternoon, the walkways in front of Huntsville Assistance Program would be busy as people grab non-perishable food items for their families. But, now the doors are closed and there’s no food to give.
Gayla Kidd says the supply of food coming into the Huntsville Assistance Program has been dwindling. She adds, “We’ve been assisted by many of our churches. But, that has been our main source of receiving food with the churches. They would have food drives and bring the food to us. Now that the churches are just barely opening up, we have had to buy food and thus far have spent almost 5,000 dollars on food to give out.”
Shelves are nearly bare now. But, organizers say they're confident more food will come. Kim Houser with HAP says, “It’ll be slow. Slow to build the pantry back up. But, eventually, it’ll be better.”
HAP normally has the food pantry open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1-3 pm. People can come and grab food at no cost. In August alone, they helped at least 549 households in the area-- and not just with food.
Kidd says, “A lot of places are giving food. But, we’ve been on the front line helping with food, rent, utilities, mortgages.”
The program has given assistance that totals up to nearly 37,000 dollars in August alone and over 161,000 dollars worth of assistance this year. Some who never sought help before the pandemic, are calling now.
Gayla Kidd tells our reporter, “It hits people in every part of society. You know, people who have had big jobs on the Arsenal now they’re looking for jobs. We’re in desperate times in a lot of ways."
Some people came by the HAP building on Monroe in Huntsville looking for food Friday afternoon. Kim Houser says, turning people away was hard to do. She adds, “We were very low Monday and scraped by Wednesday and today we’re closed. And it’s hard because most people who come here, they’re desperate in need.”
The Huntsville Assistance Program says they don’t know exactly when the food pantry will reopen, but they will post on Facebook when they’re ready to give out food once again.
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