DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The month of September is Hunger Action Month, and according to Feed
America, one in seven Americans are facing hunger.
David Hanks, the Executive Director of the Wiregrass Area Food Bank said well over a year into the pandemic and the food bank is still seeing a large need for people who are needing assistance with putting food on the table.
According to Hanks, the Wiregrass Area Food Bank has always seen a demand of people needing assistance with putting food on their table, but this past year he says the food bank has seen an increase of residents around the Wiregrass needing help,
“Our annual distribution is usually 3.3 million pounds,” Hanks said. “During COVID, it went up for 4.5 million pounds and that was mainly because a lot of people were out of work, schools weren’t in, so a lot of people were depending on food banks.”
Hanks said this ongoing pandemic has been a struggle for many people in the Wiregrass. This is why he doesn’t want people to feel like they are alone. He said hunger doesn’t discriminate and at the end of the day, everyone deserves to go to sleep with a full belly.
“There is always going to be a situation where you need a little bit of help,” Hanks said. “Hopefully like I said, it will be a hand up, not a handout, get you back on your feet. You become productive and help someone else down the road.”
Hanks said as the holiday season soon approaches, and the food bank is going to have an even greater need. He said there are several upcoming canned food drives community members can participate in. He said it doesn’t take much to feed one person in the Wiregrass.
“Canned goods are a staple in pantries mainly because pantry’s don’t have any kind of refrigeration,” Hanks said. “We do get perishables here, and the pantries that can handle the perishables, of course, take those. Canned goods are always a challenge keeping stocked here in the warehouse.”
Hanks tells WDHN News, the food bank is vital to the Wiregrass community, and he wants to encourage anyone who can donate, please do. He said donations can be as simple as picking up one or two cans while out at the grocery store or giving a dollar or two.