Food pantry needs help feeding Colbert County students

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COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – There’s an effort underway to make sure school children get the meals they need on the weekends. Organizers say the need is much higher than even they expected.

Out of a small country church near Leighton big things are happening. The Lila Barnett Area Food Pantry is hosted by Mount Zion AME Church.

Sheffield councilwoman Penny Freeman is a member of the congregation.

“We live sometimes compartmentalized lives and we think that when children are smiling and happy that all of their needs are being met, and that may not always be the case,” Freeman explained.

In December, the food pantry provided meals for some students at Leighton Elementary to take home over the holiday break. The project was so well received, the pantry started sending food backpacks home on the weekends.

“We have discovered that we have some schools and some families who are in need of some food support,” stated Freeman.

Penny Freeman

So Freeman says they want to expand the program to schools across Colbert County. She said there are more than a thousand children who may not have the necessary groceries for meals on weekends.

“We have worked with guidance counselors, we have worked with principals, and we have also worked with outside organizations to help identify children and to meet those needs without necessarily making them feel bad or guilty for having those needs,” Freeman said.

Freeman is asking the public for help. They need non-perishable food items and monetary donations to spread the food pantry program county-wide.

To help with donations to The Lila Barnett Area Food Pantry, email Penny Freeman at

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