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Dominguez Hurry at the Macon County Food Pantry

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. — For the past 10 years, Macon County residents could count on the Macon County Food Pantry to provide food to those in need. Every third Tuesday of the month, Macon County Food Pantry Coordinator Guy Trammell and a host of volunteers set up at 3103 Daly Street in Tuskegee to serve a line of cars that stretches beyond the eye’s sight.

The ALProHealth program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education (SNAP-Ed) through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University have become mutually beneficial partners with the Macon County Food Pantry.

Through the new Live Well Alabama Healthy Food Pantry Program, SNAP-Ed partners with food pantries all across the state to assess current healthy food offerings and practices. The ALProHealth program is an obesity prevention and reduction program funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program works in part to increase access to healthier foods in 13 Alabama counties with an adult obesity prevalence of 40% or greater.

Partnerships

In a visit to the food pantry this past summer, Sofia Sanchez, an Alabama Extension SNAP-Ed specialist, and Ruth Brock, the ALProHealth program manager, identified ways their programs could partner with the pantry. For example, Brock noticed volunteers lacked protection from the excessive heat or cover in case of rain.

After consulting with Trammell, Macon County Extension Coordinator Janice Hall and SNAP-Ed Educator Dominguez Hurry, Brock was able to utilize funds to purchase a tent, tables and a large fan for use on food distribution days. Meanwhile, Sanchez and Hurry discussed additional opportunities, such as connecting the pantry clients to additional health services in the county. Other opportunities discussed were ways to make the distribution line more efficient while serving clients.

Highlights of the Job

Hurry said working with Trammell to help those in need is one of the highlights of his job. Hurry assists the pantry by providing nutrition education and connecting the pantry to local farmers to increase fresh produce donations. Many times, Hurry prepares a Live Well Alabama recipe sample and hands out a recipe card at the donation site.

These efforts assist food pantry clients by teaching them about healthy eating and helps support a healthy pantry environment. Moreover, Hurry typically provides educational teaching tools, such as a reusable grocery bag or a Live Well Alabama cutting board. Also, while cars are waiting in line, Hurry talks to people about the foods they are receiving and how to prepare them at home.

“Talking to those people really helps because I can explain what I am giving them instead of just handing them a card,” Hurry said. “I’m able to explain the nutritional value of an artichoke and how it can be used. There are people out there that have never cooked an artichoke before.”

Volunteer Focused

When the Macon County Food Pantry stops handing out food on the third Tuesday of the month, Trammell relies on those around him to ensure nobody goes hungry. Trammell works with volunteers and the Macon County Ministers’ Council to learn of needs around the county. On the third Friday of each month, Trammell travels around Macon County to deliver food boxes to children in need or emergency boxes for those who couldn’t make it to the Tuesday distribution.

“Volunteers are key to activities in communities across the nation,” Brock said. “Providing a safer space for volunteers to support their community helps ensure activities continue to be successful.”

More Information

For more information about ALProHealth, contact Brock at rlw0031@aces.edu. For more information about the Live Well Alabama Healthy Food Pantry Program in Macon County, contact Hurry at (334) 738-2580 or hurrydc@aces.edu.

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