Huntsville Helping Hands serves thousands through temporary food bank

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Across North Alabama, non-profit organizations and groups of volunteers have come together to help their community.

Huntsville Helping Hands, a community based organization, is one of those special groups that came together in a tough time.

In four months, Huntsville Helping Hands has served about 2,300 families, totaling nearly 10,000 community members.

The organization’s primary goal is to meet the needs of the immigrant community, but tries to serve anybody in need with the resources it has.

Aylene Amato Valentin, one of the founder’s of Huntsville Helping Hands, says the organization first came together in December.

They had been planning a gathering for asylum children at United Church of Huntsville. But when the pandemic hit, they knew they needed to do much more.

Valentin says the group brainstormed and eventually came up with the idea of starting a food bank in collaboration with United Church of Huntsville.

Each Saturday Helping Hands distributes food to families in need from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Anyone qualifies to receive this food, as long as they make an appointment by calling Helping Hands. You can find that number here.

“It’s about unity. It’s about working together. That’s the beautiful thing about this. There are so many people from all walks of faith, all colors, all denominations have worked together for a common good. That’s what has been really beautiful about this,” Valentin said.

The food bank operates on a week-to-week basis depending on what funding comes in. 

Valentin says the organization desperately relies on community donations to keep it running.

Over the past couple of weeks, the demand for help in Madison county has gone down, but the need is still there in Morgan and Marshall counties.

“I would challenge that businesses, especially businesses that have employees that are immigrants, think about your families and the people that are working for you,” Valentin said. “This is a way you can help. Whether it be school supplies, whether it be food donations. Because we have families here from all kinds of local businesses and restaurants. And their bosses may have no idea. And that is what we are here for. To help them.”

If you would like to donate, check out Huntsville Helping Hands Facebook page for the link. 

You can also bring items directly to United Church of Huntsville. 

On August 15, the organization will be hosting a small event for students to get backpacks and school supplies, so those donations are always welcome, too.

That event will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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