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Food Bank of North Alabama receives $5,000 donation

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Boeing Vice President of Huntsville Site Operations Tony Jones, Kathryn Strickland and Anita Daniel at the North Alabama Food Bank on Tuesday. (Record photo / Jonece Dunigan)

BY JONECE DUNIGAN / FOR THE RECORD

The Food Bank of North Alabama is 30,000 meals closer to ending hunger after Boeing Defense, Space, and Security donated $5,000 on Tuesday.

FBONA will distribute these meals throughout the 11 counties of North Alabama.

Tony Jones, site executive for Boeing in Huntsville, said the food bank allows the employees to impact their communities. “Our employees contributed with can goods and are very much into helping those in need. This is one way they can reach out and use the north Alabama food bank to make a wide distributing and make someone’s holiday season a little bit more blessed,” Jones said.

The food bank provides food for 100,000 people every year and distributes to nine shelters, soup kitchens and church pantries in the City of Madison, such as Asbury United Methodist Church and Community Alliance Network.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Alabama has the highest percentage of households in the U.S. that are unable to provide food due to poverty.

Chief Commissioner of Madison County Dale Strong believes partnerships between corporations and churches are the machines keeping the food bank functioning. “Corporations, in conjunction with our faith based community, is a phenomenal partnership and this is something that speaks volumes about North Alabama and Madison County and what we do to help others that are in need,” Strong said.

Boeing also donates to the Backpack Program, which provides weekend meals for children who depend on free and reduced lunches in Title I schools. It served 1,793 children in Madison County during the 2011-2012 school year.

Julia Heintz, agency and community relations for FBONA, said food insecurity in children can affect children in more ways than one. “On the weekends, many of these children do not have the food available to them to meet their nutritional needs or make them feel full.  This lack of food security impacts their developmental growth, learning abilities, health and well being,” Heintz said.

Along with sending out food to the needy, the food bank has united with Feed America to complete the National Hunger Study of 2014. This study will provide a snapshot of the demographics and locations of families in need. It is currently in the first stage of surveying families in need of assistance and will be in its second stage of face-to-face interviews in the Spring of 2013.

Heintz said food insecurity comes in many forms and the data will help the food bank discover innovative ways to deals with these different challenges. “Many people are two income families who have to face uncovered medical bills, injury or layoffs and have to decide what bills to cover to keep a roof over their heads. Some are single, elderly folks who are making their social security stretch as much as they can. Others are homeless and need to have someone take care of their need…People are making choices at the most basic of needs levels and that is why we need the Food Bank and our agencies to fill in those gaps,” Heintz said.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle is impressed with the food bank’s progress since it was established in 1989. He believes it has done more than feed the hungry. He said it also helped the community grow together.

“This community will amaze you time and time again in the way it gives back. Anytime there is a real need, they will step up and do it,” Battle said.

Edited Thursday at 8:48 a.m. to correct the name of Tony Jones in the photograph.

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