MONTGOMERY, Ala. — While many are preparing for their Thanksgiving feast, inflation has made it hard for some Alabamians to put a turkey or much else on the table. Some food banks in the area are still making the holiday special for those in need.
The Montgomery Area Food Bank serves 35 counties and gives out millions of pounds of food every year to over 200 agencies in the state.
Their warehouse is filled, floor to ceiling, with donations. However, they pay out-of-pocket for turkeys every Thanksgiving, which has been more challenging to do this year.
“There’s been a lot of bird flu going around so there wasn’t a lot of turkeys available, and when there were they’re almost twice as high as they were before,” CEO Michael Coleman said.
Coleman says they’ve still found ways to make tomorrow’s meal special.
“Sometimes we have to go with alternates, like whole chickens or hams or things like that to try to put protein in the distribution for the families,” Coleman said. “So we get as much as we can this time of year for turkeys, but sometimes you have to go with plan B.”
The Montgomery Baptist Association is one of the food bank’s partner agencies, which delivers food to churches in the area.
Jeremy Lynch leads the Association’s mobile pantry — a refurbished school bus equipped to bring food to families every weekend.
“We knew that times were tough during COVID, and then from that we’ve continued to see that the need is steady. It’s not gone down. It’s about the same if not increasing,” Lynch said.
Dewayne Rembert, lead pastor at Flatline Church at Chisholm, sees how inflation has hit his community every day.
“It’s impacted them in a hard way. They were already struggling when the prices wasn’t that bad, and when it went up, it made it even harder,” Rembert said. “We need the food bank in order to help our community.”
Barbara Higbe also helps distribute food as the Food Ministry Coordinator at Taylor Road Baptist Church. She says this past weekend’s distribution, every family went home with something to make their Thanksgiving a little brighter.
“We just don’t always have enough for everybody. But this year we had enough turkeys, chicken and ham that everybody got a piece of holiday meat,” Higbe said.
The food bank has been serving the community since 1986. Coleman says they’re always looking for donations, more volunteers or people to create an agency in their community. You can head to their website to learn more.