BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The holidays are always a busy time for charities and they’re shaping up to be even more demanding this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everything is different this year,” Brett Meredith, the CEO of the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, said.
Because of the pandemic, unemployment is higher than usual, and that’s leading to a greater need for food throughout the 12 counties the food bank serves. Meredith estimates that 40% of the people requesting their assistance are doing so for the first time.
“This is a difficult matter for a lot of families right now,” Meredith said. “And we want to make sure that we can give them dignity and help them through these times the best that we can.”
It’s already been a busy holiday season for Meredith and his staff. They prepare special holiday food boxes this time of year – about 2,500 over the course of a normal season. They’ve already packed 12,000 this year.
“We have the need, and we’re well-prepared right now to begin meeting that this holiday season,” he said.
But because of the extra demand for food, the food bank does need some extra help. They’ve already hired more temporary workers, and Meredith said they can use more volunteers, too.
“If you have volunteer groups, Sunday school groups, church groups, or corporate groups for that matter, all of them are welcome,” he said. “We’d love to have them come. We have plenty of time over the next couple weeks to schedule and in time to get delivery of all these going out.”
The Community Food Bank of Central Alabama will start distributing food boxes next week. They’ll distribute more between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Meredith said they’re always open to donations, either of food or money. For more information on how you can help, click here.