'Perfect storm' of events creates shortage at Wiregrass Area Food Bank

'Perfect storm' of events creates shortage at Wiregrass Area Food Bank

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The Wiregrass Area Food Bank is facing a critical need for food, and the community’s support is needed to replenish the shelves at an agency that provides food for 200 partner agencies in a six-county area.

Officials at the Food Bank attribute this shortfall to a combination of events.

“We are tremendously low on non-perishable food items,” said Julie Gonzalez, development director for the agency. “It’s a combination of things that has caused the shortage. First, it was the hurricane relief effort. Then, the USDA cut their food distribution by 30 percent in canned goods. That alone is a loss of 3,000 pounds of food per day. Most people don’t realize that we distribute 10,000 pounds of food per day.”

The third reason for the shortfall is that the food the agency normally procures from Feeding America is simply not available.

“When the public makes monetary donations to the Food Bank online, we put that money toward purchasing food by the truckload at a reduced price,” Gonzalez continued. “Right now, we’re actually having to buy food retail, because Feeding America didn’t have enough available for us to purchase.

“It’s been a perfect storm this year. All of these factors working together created the situation where we are short of food.”

The normal food distribution is a priority for the Food Bank staff. But they are also facing two major holidays where their partner agencies are depending on the Food Bank to supply the food for the people they serve. Stocking the Food Bank’s shelves will depend, in large part, on the Wiregrass community’s help.

“Right now, we’re relying on food drives to supplement the loss (of food),” Gonzalez said. “We have two major truck drives scheduled within the next 30 days. On November 15, will we hold the ‘Stuff a Semi’ at the McDonald’s location at 3520 Ross Clark Circle. We will be assisted in this drive by The Radio People. The food drive will be held from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. We’re hoping the public will help us fill the trailer with non-perishable food items.”

Less than a month later, on Dec. 1, the Food Bank will partner with WTVY-TV for a collection effort.

“On that day we will hold the ‘Miracle on Foster Street’ food drive in front of the WTVY building,” Gonzalez continued. “We will hold this one from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. This will be a drive-through food drive. People can just hand their donations through their vehicle windows and be on their way.

“With either of these two food drives, most people drive by on their way to work, at lunch or on their way home. It’s a convenient way to make a much-needed donation to the Food Bank.”

Gonzalez says other drives are taking place throughout the Wiregrass. Churches, schools, civic groups and businesses have organized their own food collection drives. Gonzalez named a few of the locations: Ashford High School, DSI Security, Andrews Bridal Shoppe, Party America, Harley-Davidson, Planet Fitness, Covenant Hospice and the Dothan Association of Realtors.

“As you can see, there are a lot of good food drives planned in November,” Gonzalez said. “People can also donate at the Food Bank at 380 Twitchell Road.”

A couple of other special collection sites have also set their dates for the public to support the Food Bank.

“The Joy-FM is holding its annual ‘T-Shirts for Turkeys’ effort that starts on November 9, “Gonzalez noted. “For a $ 10 donation, which is considered to be a paper turkey, those making the donation will receive a Joy-FM t-shirt. This promotion really helps us and The Salvation Army out at Thanksgiving.

“Two locations are hosting this event in November. Wood World, at 2395 Ross Clark Circle, will hold its event November 9. Window World, at 506 Westgate Parkway, will hold its event on November 13. The last event for the ‘T-shirts for Turkeys’ will be held December 16 at Wet Pets (located at the intersection of the Montgomery Highway and Denton Road).”

Gonzalez encourages any business, civic group or school to contact her about the possibility of hosting a food drive for the Food Bank. She can be reached at 794-9775.

“The only rule we have for a food drive is that the food you collect comes to the Food Bank,” she said. “We can help you by supplying collection containers – either boxes or barrels. And we will pick the food up. You don’t have to bring it to us.

“It’s not hard to host a food drive. And everything that comes in helps. It doesn’t matter what is given – money or food. It all helps the Food Bank. Donations can be the buy one get one free products. People who coupon can use their coupons to get food products for the Food Bank. We need all the help we can get.”

Because of the shortfall in canned foods, Gonzalez says the Food Bank may not have enough turkeys to distribute this year.

“Currently, we don’t have any turkeys in-house,” she said. “Because of the canned goods shortage, we don’t know if we’ll have the funds to purchase turkeys. Right now, turkeys are a luxury item. It would be wonderful, if the public could donate frozen turkeys. It’s always our goal to serve the most people first, when distributing the turkeys. But we can only give them out as we have them available.”

The Wiregrass Area Food Bank serves Barbour, Coffee, Dale, Geneva, Henry and Houston counties.

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About Craig Ballantyne 18598 Articles
I love anything to do with Harley Davidson and have two beautiful children and a beautiful partner. In my spare time i like building websites and love anything to do with the internet.

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