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As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the community, the West Alabama Food Bank needs the public's help trekking through the post-holiday lull in food donations.

During November and December, food pantries like WAFB experience increased levels of volunteering and food donations due to an eagerness in do-gooders to give back to their communities. This year, however, January seems longer and harder for more people in West Alabama than ever before.

WAFB Volunteer Coordinator Tucker Brown explained that the University of Alabama’s two-week moratorium added to the absence of volunteers, as many are UA students and university-affiliated clubs and organizations.

Despite fewer volunteers, the need for food has exploded in the last year.

“Last year we put out 6.23 million pounds of food as compared to 2019, which saw about 4.9 million pounds of food distributed,” Brown said.

The reason for the rise in food insecurity in Tuscaloosa can be found in the many workers the coronavirus put out of a job. As a result, Brown said right now they are helping more young families than any other demographic.

“This one lady in line was just crying when she was getting food because, you know, she worked hard, she went to college, and here she was having to get food. For a lot of people, we have to explain that we all need help sometimes and that’s okay,” Brown said.

Food donations such as one-pot family dinners, like taco-kits, can go a long way in helping these families minimize their food insecurity. Cereal, mac and cheese and even condiments are just a few other items Tucker suggested for donation.

“Our mission is to make sure that no family, no mom or dad, has to skip a meal to make sure their children eat,” Brown said.

Food donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays at the West Alabama Food Bank. The facility is located at 3160 McFarland Blvd. in Northport.

Volunteers are encouraged to call 205-333-5353 to set a date to come in and help out.

For more information on WAFB, visit their website here.

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