ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY, Ala. – People across the nation have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus has left many people without jobs, limiting their ability to buy adequate food. Some people find themselves standing in food distribution lines for the first time.
To address some food insecurity issues in North Alabama, staff and volunteers from several organizations stepped up to the plate. These organizations included the Basic Needs Coalition and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Alabama A&M University (AAMU), in partnership with The Legacy Center, Inc.
USDA Farmers to Families Program
The Legacy Center, Inc. is a distributor for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program. This program enables organizations to distribute family-sized food boxes to citizens needing relief from COVID-19. These boxes contain a combination of produce, dairy and meat products.
Andrea Morris, chair of the Basic Needs Coalition and an Alabama Extension urban SNAP-Ed specialist, first heard about this endeavor. As a result, from May to December 2020, Morris and her team distributed 46,900 pounds of food (2,120 boxes), reaching 518 households and 1,263 individuals. Alabama Extension at AAMU continues to support this initiative and is looking to address new food insecurity issues in Alabama.
“The AAMU Basic Needs Coalition has provided food relief for students through a mobile food pantry since March 2020,” Morris said. “We reached more individuals and families by partnering with The Legacy Center, Inc. and with support by Alabama Extension at AAMU. We are proud to meet this immediate need with community resources.”
Additional community partners included Alabama State Representative Laura Hall and volunteers from local churches, non-profits and small businesses. These partners assisted with logistics and weekly distribution of food.
“Where there is strategic community collaboration, great things happen,” said Chanda Crutcher, chief visionary officer of The Legacy Center, Inc.
The Legacy Center, Inc. addresses gaps that prevent successful aging. The Basic Needs Coalition addresses food insecurity, as well as the mental and physical health of AAMU students. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is the primary outreach organization for Alabama A&M and Auburn universities. By providing practical education,
Alabama Extension helps Alabama residents address economic issues, food insecurity and many other issues that impact daily lives.
For more information about the Basic Needs Coalition, contact Morris at (256) 937-6341.