Pay It Forward: Athens-Limestone Emergency Food & Shelter

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

TANNER, Ala. (WHNT) - Usually when we get a Pay It Forward nomination, the person doing the nominating is also featured in our segment, but not in this one.  The person who nominated Laura Aldridge wanted to remain anonymous.

"Laura Aldridge does a remarkable job taking care of others in need in Limestone County," the person said.  "She runs the Athens-Limestone Emergency Food and Shelter in Tanner.  Laura uses her own money to make sure there is food, even though it puts her in a major strain.  I know of at least one time when Laura had a flat tire and didn't have enough money to get it fixed.  I know a 'Pay It Forward' would help the shelter and Laura tremendously."

The Athens-Limestone Emergency Food and Shelter is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization.

"We give out food boxes to people three times a calendar year," said Aldridge as we visited with her recently.  "We give them on an average of two and a half to three weeks of worth of food."

Aldridge says there are no live-in shelters in Limestone County.

"So, we help with rent.  If people are behind in their rent and they're being evicted or getting late notices where they are going to be evicted, we help with a $100 toward their rent once a year and we help with $50 toward a utility bill, if the utilities are still on," said Aldridge.

They do this when funds are available.  Grants help with part of that cost.

"We get federal funds from combined federal campaigns, which is mainly though Browns Ferry and Redstone Arsenal," said Aldridge.  "People that work there pledge some of their paycheck every week and we get a check once a month."

The shelter also gets help from private individuals and several different businesses, including Walmart and Piggly Wiggly, when there is food available.  But it often goes quickly.

"We got food Wednesday from Wal-Mart, and Wednesday afternoon when we closed at 12, it was gone," Aldridge said.

"I don't know if it's from sequestration or what, but usually this time of year things are starting to pick back up after the winter, but it's not happening this year - just this month we've seen over 100 families so far," Aldridge said.

Aldridge said the shelter saw more than 3,000 families last year.  So far, they've seen 700 and it's only April.

We decided to step in and surprise her with $319.  Aldridge was very thankful.

She left us with this thought.

"Everybody has to pitch in and help each other, that's how we make it," said Aldridge.

If you would like to help the Athens-Limestone Emergency Food and Shelter, they accept donations of food or money.  Just drop by the shelter, located at 20086 Swanner Boulevard in Tanner.

If you would like to nominate someone for a Pay It Forward, click here.  Please include your phone number.