HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The holidays are a joyous time, but it can also be a stressful time for families who are already battling hunger year round. When children are not in school, sometimes they're not eating healthy, balanced meals. In some cases, they're not eating at all. WHNT NEWS 19 visited the Food Bank of North Alabama to see how the agency is trying to help.
“Look at them! They’re just beautiful,” says North Alabama Food Bank Executive Director Kathryn Strickland as she proudly shows off the hand-picked red and green apples donated by Scott's Orchard and Crow Mountain Orchard. The food bank partnered with the local orchards, Society of St. Andrew and Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison to get the produce.
“They have donated 24,000 pounds of locally grown apples,” says Strickland. “They made them available to the food bank and all of our partner feeding programs."
There are 229 partner feeding programs in 11 north Alabama counties. Apples are a welcome healthy addition to the food boxes for families in need.
"A lot of times people don’t realize that the cost of a cheeseburger is often much less expensive than local produce,” explains Strickland. “This can make a big difference for families in need."
The need is great around this time of year, especially for the most vulnerable.
“Unfortunately, there are many children in our area where the only meal they can rely upon happens at school,” says Strickland. “Over the weekend or the holiday season, it tends to stress families in need. To be able to have a holiday food box or to have the back pack programs that provide two day meal kits to children over the weekends is critical to make sure that our children have enough food to live active, healthy lives."
Even with thousands of pounds of apples and other food items, Strickland says it will go quickly. If you'd like to make a food donation, you can contact the food bank by calling (256) 539-2256.