The number of families in North Alabama needing food assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic has doubled in some counties and quadrupled in others.
Shirley Schofield, Executive Director of the Food Bank of North Alabama, celebrated this week when Rick Pate, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, showed up at the Huntsville headquarters with a donation of 400 dozen (4,800) eggs from Cal-Maine Foods.
The local contribution is part of a statewide donation of 54,000 eggs to Food Banks statewide. The eggs were shipped from the Cal-Maine location in Robertsdale to Montgomery and then distributed by R.E. Garrison Trucking to the North Alabama Food Bank.
The Food Bank of North Alabama serves 11 counties. The organization’s mission is to end hunger by offering hunger relief programs that immediately feed people in need. That need has skyrocketed since the pandemic put so many people out of work in mid-March.
“We are so thankful to Rick and the people at Cal-Maine for making this contribution,” said Schofield. “We have many people getting food assistance for the first time and some of them have never been unemployed, so they have never been in these circumstances before.”
Schofield said in June the Food Bank delivered 1 million meals to families who needed it. That is up by 250,000 meals when compared to pre-COVID averages of 750,000 a month. Year-to-date, the Food Bank has provided 7.3 million meals, compared to under 5 million last year.
The Food Bank’s recent investment of nearly $12,000 in commercial-grade refrigerators for six rural pantry locations will come in handy, too.
“The timing is perfect,” said Schofield.
Cal-Maine Foods is the largest producer and marketer of shell eggs in the U.S. with a flock of approximately 36.2 million layers and 9.4 million pullets and breeders. In 2019, the company sold more than 1 billion dozen shell eggs.