Tuscaloosa community food pantry feeds more than 100 families

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 3:18 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - The campus of Cottondale Elementary School in Tuscaloosa County became ground zero for hundreds of people receiving food Friday morning. The line of cars stretched for at least three blocks is an indicator of just how serious hunger is - just in Tuscaloosa County.

The total came out to around 165 families, which is a little more than what Tuscaloosa One Place expects every time it puts on a community food pantry. The reasons vary as to why so many are hungry these days.

At 89-years-old, Mildred Reding learned long ago to laugh and roll with the punches in life. Reding’s constant challenge to buy enough food is no exception.

“It’s so high you can’t buy it. That’s part of it. You might as well smile. I’m just thankful I got what I have,” said Reding.

And what Mildred Reding received Friday morning was 70 pounds worth of food, a “Godsend” if you ask her.

“God has really been good to me,” Reding said.

Tuscaloosa One Place’s Ashley Cornelius-Hester says she’s not surprised see people like Reding and so many more like her during this food pantry Friday morning at Cottondale Elementary School.

“That tells us food insecurity is still an issue. It is still very much impacting west Alabama, and we’re doing the best we can to change the locations and change the times we offer these things,” said Cornelius-Hester, Director of Communications for Tuscaloosa One Place.

One after another, car after car, families received boxes of the good stuff for the weekend and beyond, courtesy of donors made through the West Alabama Food Bank.

“This time we have pork loins, cheeses, a lot of baked goods, frozen vegetables,” said Cornelius-Hester.

A spread that warmed the hearts of folks like Cynthia Godfrey, a woman in charge of a household of seven people.

“Feeding kids, adults, working ... just living,” said Godfrey.

Some of the stories we heard as the line made its way towards the front were challenges of trying to overcome inflation and the economy.

“These programs are good for people who are disabled, and veterans,” said Johnny Peoples.

“It’s a blessing. It’s fantastic,” Godfrey added.

More than 100 families drove away with a full heart, and soon a full tummy, along with a heaping dose of gratefulness.

Tuscaloosa One Place says its next food pantry remote will be Oct. 7 at the New Heights Community Center.

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