It may surprise you to know that of the hundreds of thousands of families across Alabama served by the Montgomery Area Food Bank and our network of partners, we primarily serve low-pay workers and their families. These families live at or below 130% of the poverty line and face many obstacles on the road to self-sufficiency.
One of the largest obstacles is the ongoing recession and its impact on employment in Alabama. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2012, 9.8% of Alabamians were unemployed. On top of that, 16.2% of all Alabamians were considered “underemployed,” meaning that they are working part time jobs when they want to be working full time or perhaps they are working full time jobs that they are overqualified for and thus earning less than their potential.
Compounding this problem is the phenomenon of the single-parent household. Based on the 2010 Census, Alabama ranks 46th in the nation for single-parent households; in fact, around 40% of all households in Alabama are led by single-parents. For these families, the problem is even more complex because basic daycare expenses can take up to 50% of a family’s income.
At Montgomery Area Food Bank, we are constantly searching for ways to build bridges between a family’s income and their needs. Providing food assistance lies at the core of our mission; when we feed families, we enable them to focus their budget on things like school supplies, rent and utilities. But we do much more than this – every day we work with hundreds of Partner Agencies who, in addition to distributing food from us to local communities, often offer job training, placement, and other services designed to give a hand up, not a hand out.
We are so thankful for the support of our funders. Today, we’d like to take a moment to share with you the results of a recent grant generously provided by Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM).
When ADM decided that they wanted to get more involved with their community, they knew immediately that they wanted to reach out to families struggling to put food on the table.
“ADM is committed to making a difference in the communities where we live and work, and we are excited to continue to expand our work with Feeding America,” said ADM chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz. “We have already seen our farmer partners step up to contribute to local food banks through the Invest An Acre program, but as it became more and more apparent that this would be an exceptionally difficult year for rural communities, we took action to do more. With this investment, we are proud to help support mobile food and meal delivery in 30 ADM communities.”
In partnership with MAFB, ADM sponsored 29 Mobile Pantry Distributions. Our Mobile Pantries are our primary method for reaching out to rural, highly impoverished communities. Mobile Pantries serve the needy in these neighborhoods by distributing large quantities of food – including non-perishables, frozen and refrigerated items such as produce and dairy – to a large number of qualified families at one place and time. These distributions are incredibly efficient.
Using ADM funds, MAFB provided 29 Mobile Pantries to highly impoverished areas of Alabama. These pantries served:
352,732 pounds of product, to
4,682 household, made up of
9,135 People in Poverty, of whom
2,382 were children.
What an incredible impact ADM has had on Alabama through this generous grant! Truly, ADM has proven their dedication to our motto: Feeding Hope Across Alabama. We very much appreciate all of their support and look forward to working with them again.
As partners with the MAFB, our agencies find themselves facing major challenges on a daily basis. As the ones who regularly come in contact with the hungry, they are in the perfect position to offer more than just food. They also provide HOPE. After all, that’s what our logo says – Feeding Hope Across Alabama.
Our Agency Conference this year focused on providing ways for our agencies to provide that HOPE. Along with the initial relief from hunger, we see so many agencies going the extra mile by helping people to stand on their own. This conference provided solid solutions for them to use in their ministry.
It was a great conference. Meeting people, joining forces, sharing information and experiences gives us all the chance to take our agencies, and MAFB, up to the next level.