TALLADEGA COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — We know what it feels like when we start hear and feel the rumbles letting us know it’s time to eat.
But imagine going all weekend feeling that way, because you have no food. There are families experiencing this right here in our own back yards.
One Talladega County teenager saw that first hand, and now she has a hunger to make a difference in the lives of starving classmates.
Caitlyn McTier, 16, is filling a need for those less fortunate in her school. It started when she was in fourth grade.
Every day her best friend went home hungry to a family with no money to afford even a snack. So Caitlyn started sneaking food out of her own house to feed her.
“It was just one of those eye opening experiences,” said McTier. “Even though I was so young, I was able to see hunger. I knew it was something that I wanted to work on stopping.”
Caitlyn found a discreet solution: recruit a few friends, provide a school bag full of basic necessities and place it in the lockers of hungry students. It’s called Caitlyn’s Cubby.
“We go around kind of in a circle in an assembly line and just keep putting food into each of the bags and then we put a bible verse into it at the end,” said McTier.
Alabama Childhood Food Solutions provides Caitlyn with donations. Director Jim Jones said childhood hunger is a growing problem.
“We now have identified over 21,000 children in five counties that are desperately hungry on the weekends,” said Jones. “When there’s a hungry child, there’s also a hungry family.”
Caitlyn says it’s not something that just happens in other countries, these are her friends. That’s why she says she wants to do something about it.
“Remember that there are people struggling with hunger around you. It’s not just something that’s happening across seas,” said McTier. “To have students come up to me and say, ‘thank you, you have no idea what this meal will do for me,’ it just makes me understand that we’re really helping people and making a difference.”
Caitlyn said when she first started this project she noticed one student wouldn’t take the food home because they were being bullied because of the plastic bags full of food. That’s when she decided to start using the small school bags.
Alabama Childhood Food Solutions provides for Caitlyn’s Cubby and families in five counties. They operate solely on donations, and are a 501 (c) 3 organization.
If you’d like to donate, you can call 256-207-8048. If you’re in need of food, you can call 256-346-3490 to get assistance.