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CASA of Jackson County helping people overcome hunger and poverty

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SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) - Hunger is a very real issue that people deal with every day. It's also an issue that drives caring volunteers to help those struggling with it.

A sobering sight prompted Lisa Smith to send WHNT NEWS 19 an email. Smith writes, "At CASA of Jackson County, weekly, I see a lot of people that go without food. I know they can use the money.  I would love for you to pay it forward to them."  We took a drive to Scottsboro to just that.

On a daily basis, people in need can come and get food.  In addition to food, people can also get household items and toiletries.

"We serve anywhere between 1,300 to 1,500 people per month," explains Alexia Ellison, volunteer coordinator at CASA of Jackson County.

The pantry is open to individuals and families.

"We have so many people come in with three and four children," describes volunteer Donna Brown. "We make sure they get what they need."

When those people come to the CASA of Jackson County office in downtown Scottsboro for help, volunteers, like Brown, are ready to greet them with kindness.

"When they walk through the door, they're frightened and we can slowly put them at ease," explains Brown. "We tell them we're here for you, whatever you need."

Brown is one of more than 200 CASA volunteers. Ellison says the USDA does require recipients fill out forms, but the paperwork is worth it, because the service is needed.

"With the economy being in the state it's in, we do have a great need to stay open and running because there are a lot of people that have a need for food," says Ellison.

The need for food produces a need for funding. That's where WHNT NEWS 19 stepped in to Pay it Forward with $319.

"Thank you so much," says Ellison. "We really appreciate it! Of course, this money is going to go back in to buy more food. Also, part of it may to be help with ramps, medical supplies, helping people get back and forth to the doctor. We do food, but we do other things."