BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Food banks in Alabama have been struggling to keep up with demands for families hit hard by the economic impact of the coronavirus. The CARES act earlier this year provided more food, and there is hope the latest stimulus package will help out into next year.
The Community Food Bank of Central Alabama saw a big jump in the demand for their food items this year because of COVID. The CEO said that demand is not going away anytime soon even with the vaccine coming out now.
Last year the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama served 190,000 people about $500,000 worth of food. This year it increased to at least 325,000 and topping $2.7 million dollars in food giveaways.
“We expect this level of demand to probably remain for the next 18 months. We don’t see it changing dramatically any time soon.” Brett Meredith, CEO Community Foodbank of Central Alabama said.
Meredith said they expect the economy may be slow to recover and there is no guarantee the COVID vaccines will do what people expect. Federal funding has helped.
“We received about a million dollars from the CARES money and that dramatically helped this year. The rest comes through donations.” Meredith said.
Until the most recent stimulus bill passed, there were fears the food bank would take a big hit in a cutback in funds from the US Agricultural Department.
“We were told to expect a 50% reduction in USDA products, which is drastic. That’s 3-to-5 million pounds we would be losing.” Meredith said.
But, Meredith said the latest word is that reduction may be much smaller.
The food banks is also hoping to land another million dollars from the stimulus package later in 2021. They are still looking at it. Despite the hope for more funds donations remain key. If you need food or want to provide a donation go to www.feedingal.org.