DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The month of September is Hunger Action Month, and at WDHN we will be highlighting how our local food bank helps our community.

According to Executive Director, David Hanks, being one of eight food banks in the state of Alabama, the Wiregrass Area Food Bank has been serving six counties throughout southeast Alabama. Since the early 90s, they have given out 79 million pounds of food, which adds up to 65 million meals.

“Here in the Wiregrass, and it’s amazing to me but neighbors help neighbors all the time,” Hank said. “That is just the philosophy here in the southeast Alabama area because if somebody sees something, sometimes they’ll just help them directly.”

Hanks said it’s amazing how far-reaching a food bank can be, and sometimes thinking outside the box can go a long way.

“We are we putting candy in these boxes,” Hanks said. “I said ‘we need to put something more nutritious in these boxes and stop giving out candy.’ Well, the director of what we call the “brown bag program,” she told me these folks have grandchildren, and now they have candy for when their grandchildren come to visit.”

Hanks wants people to think of food banks as giving people an opportunity to get a hand-up rather than a handout.

It doesn’t take much to give back, Hanks tells WDHN one dollar will make up to nine meals here at the food bank, or it’s as simple as buying one or two canned goods when you’re out at the grocery store.

“Sometimes you just got to put your pride aside because everybody needs help in their lives,” Hanks said. “I know personally, my mother raised me and my two brothers by herself. I know for a fact that she got help from other institutions and people.”

Hanks encourages anyone who is able to donate items such as canned corn, peas, potatoes, tuna, and chicken to drop off those items, or he says people can simply give a helping hand.