MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative is working to reduce hunger and food insecurity for families across Alabama.

Founder Bryan Stevenson says seeking justice is at the core of what they do at EJI, whether it’s helping those wrongly convicted or helping Alabamians put food on the table.

“23% of all children in the state of Alabama struggle with food insecurity, and I just don’t think that’s something we should accept or tolerate, so we’re now prepared to make an intervention,” Stevenson said.

That intervention includes direct financial assistance to families in need starting next month. Stevenson says they’re in the process of identifying those families by working with local community leaders.

“A lot of people are hardworking. They’re doing their very best, but they can’t make ends meet. Given inflation, it’s just really been hard for us and other to see people struggling the way they’re struggling,” Stevenson said.

In addition to directly supporting families, EJI has also given grants to food banks to support their efforts.

“Honestly, I really cried when I first got the letter from Mr. Stevenson,” Food Bank of East Alabama Executive Director Martha Henk said.

Henk says the $50,000 grant is going to help add another school to their backpack program, strengthen their mobile food pantry and go toward creating a community market in Opelika.

“Food is just such a simple thing, but it can play a huge role in bringing hope to somebody who is feeling hopeless, and that is just an enormous privilege to be able to be a part of that process,” Henk said.

For any questions related to the hunger program, Stevenson says you can learn more at or email He says fighting hunger is just one part of their anti-poverty project.

They also plan to help those dealing with unjust fees and fines as well as those with health care needs.