HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Food Bank of North Alabama closed its warehouse after several people tested positive for COVID-19.
Shirley Schofield with the Food Bank says deciding to close the Huntsville office and warehouse was a heartbreaking decision so close to the holidays, but necessary. She said the decision was simply one made by putting the community’s safety above all.
“We do work with some of the most vulnerable people in the community,” Schofield said. “People who are elderly. Young people. People who are ill.”
After several positive cases at the food bank leaders decided to close last Thursday and will remain shut until this upcoming Monday. That decision impacts around 250 groups that the food bank partners with throughout the Tennessee Valley to help feed those in need.
“There are some groups that we are not able to get to at that time,” Schofield said. “The bulk of the groups were able to get the food that they were going to get for Thanksgiving.”
Some of those groups are dependent on weekly fresh produce.
The Help Center Food Pantry in Florence gets around 98 percent of the food it hands out from the Food Bank of North Alabama, according to Board President Cindy Young.
“We were the final truck that was loaded before the food bank was closed,” Young said.
She also said her group usually gets about five loads a month, but now it will miss two due to the temporary closure.
“Obviously it impacts the amount of food we give to our clients because we have to cut back to make sure we have enough to to last until the food bank has opened back up,” Young said.
The economic hit from this pandemic has also pushed food banks to their limits.
Governor Kay Ivey is contributing 3.6 million dollars of CARES funding to reimburse food banks for COVID related expenses.