While combating hunger by feeding those with immediate need is our primary mission, we believe we also have an opportunity to help Alabamians return to a life of independence and self-reliance by reminding those we assist how important their health is not only to them, but to all of us.
According to the United Health Foundation, Alabama has a tragic record in unhealthy outcomes; the highest diabetes rate in the nation, second highest in hypertension, eighth highest in obesity and the second highest infant mortality rate.
As the largest food bank in Alabama, our service area crisscrosses the entire state, and includes 11 of 12 rural counties historically referred to as the “Black Belt.” This region is chronically among the most poverty stricken in the nation, including Wilcox County, the poorest in the nation! However, with an estimated 385,000 individuals living near or below the Federal Poverty Line, our efforts impact our neighbors in need regardless of race, creed, or age.
Within our service area, 24.31% of the adult and 34.67% of the child populations live in poverty. Our senior poverty rate is 22.09% while the national average of 9.86%.
While it may seem counterintuitive, food insecurity, poverty, obesity, diabetes and even the advent of youth violence have frequently been identified as being closely interrelated.
Our Exercise, Nutrition and Diet (END) Program challenges those choices and ideas, and offers alternatives, demonstrating that healthy food can be both cost effective, delicious and satisfying!
Of course, for many, the objectives of END represent a change in lifestyle, and we’ve learned along the way that people embrace change only when they’re ready. With this in mind, our goal is to get each person to take a minute and evaluate their own understanding of diet and nutrition. We teach simple concepts like how to read a food label, what foods are nutritious yet easy on the budget, how to get the most out of your money, and how to prepare the food in a way that is tasty but still healthy.
One of the END Program’s greatest strengths is the ability for customization to support the specific needs seniors, children, diabetics, or even those who just want to lose some weight! The information is readily accessible right here on our Web site. If you’re ready…the resources are available 24-hours a day, 365 days of the year!
For more information about our END Program - or to schedule a seminar or series, call 334-263-3784 or contact our Programs Development Manager Jolene Kearns.