Alfa Foundation Helps Fight Hunger In Alabama
A donation from the Alfa Foundation will feed roughly 1 million people in Alabama and marks the 10th consecutive year the foundation has supported the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA).
“The work the Society of St. Andrew does is parallel with the core values of the Federation,” said Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “With the hard work of farmers and volunteers, millions of pounds of food are saved and given to people in need.”
While the Foundation’s support is financial, a donation of $20,000, farmers throughout the state help feed the hungry by contributing food from their fields or selling crops at a reduced cost.
Madison County farmer Billy Mullins said the SoSA staff was easy to work with when they gathered blueberries and muscadines from his farm last summer and fall.
“If I just let the fruit stay there, it would have gone to waste,” he said. “I have a U-pick operation, and once people get their fill of picking, I don’t want the food to go to waste. Most of the volunteers are adults, so they’ve done this before and know what they’re doing.”
About 40,000 volunteers work with SoSA in its six regional offices, located in the Southeast. Alabama Regional Director Linda Tozer said Alfa’s gift goes a long way in securing food for those in need.
“Knowing that we can move food at an average of just 2 cents per serving, those dollars stretch very far,” Tozer said. “We’re very appreciative to those large donors like Alfa that come through and see what we’re able to do and how important the work is.”
SoSA’s North Alabama Gleaning Coordinator Mary Lynne Botts said the organization tries to buy from farmers when it can, but that usually is not the case.
“If we’re in a position to help our farmers, then we’ll do whatever we can to help,” Botts said. “Only one or two food banks in Alabama have budgets, and those are usually low.”
Botts said the SoSA is a go-between for organizations needing food and farmers who have unmarketable, yet nutritious food.
Will Scott of Scott’s Orchards in Hazel Green sold surplus apples to the SoSA that were distributed to food banks in Birmingham; Houston, Texas; and Chattanooga and Nashville, Tennessee.
“We distributed almost 300,000 pounds of apples through the staff at St. Andrew,” Scott said. “They helped us find a home for the apples, and we were paid for them (at a reduced price). It’s almost like I have an extension of my staff.”