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Local groups working to combat food insecurity from COVID-19

Updated: Nov. 26, 2020 at 9:44 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - COVID-19 is impacting food security worldwide, and for people in the Tennessee Valley it’s no different.

Feeding America estimates more than 50 million people nationally may experience food insecurity in 2020 because of COVID-19. Experts say the virus brought on more and more people not knowing where their next meal is coming from. That’s what Health and Nutrition Extension Specialist Dr. Andrea Morris with the Alabama A&M University said she’s dealing with now.

“We have more people unemployed. People are ill. People are having to make larger decisions with how they manage those funds,” Dr. Morris said.

It’s an issue her group and other organizations are working to combat. Chanda Mills Crutcher with The Legacy Center said she’s seen this issue first-hand.

“Back in March we realized our Alzheimer’s day program had to close. Families were being asked to shelter at home,” Crutcher said. “Their loved ones were asked to stay away and that created the perfect storm for not just social isolation but also for nutritional deficiency.”

So, they decided to make a difference. The nonprofit partnered with 52 faith-based groups to give them food to hand out to their communities.

Shirley Schofield with the Food Bank of North Alabama said they are also working to make sure no one goes hungry.

“The normal year for us we would spend maybe $350,000 on food, but this year we have spent maybe 900,000 on food,” Schofield said. “During COVID-19 we have been distributing over one million pounds of food each month. That’s going directly into the community.”

Schofield said the impact of food security because of COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. It’s hitting people from every background.

“The need has increased. It has doubled in some areas and quadrupled in others so there’s a lot of need out there right now,” she said.

Governor Kay Ivey is also working to help the food banks. She is giving around $3.6 million in CARES funding out to food banks to help reimburse them for COVID-19 related expenses.

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