Across the country, restaurants are closing or moving to new, lower-seating-capacity models, leaving food suppliers with an unprecedented surplus. Meanwhile, ironically, as unemployment rates climb to record highs, more and more Americans face food insecurity. They simply can’t afford, and don’t have, enough to eat.
As a solution to these problems, the USDA has introduced the Farmers to Families program, which aims to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products and then distribute the goods to those in need.
The Bold Goals Coalition is coordinating with local partners, such as the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, the Boys and Girls Club of Central Alabama and the YMCA of Greater Birmingham, to provide vulnerable populations with fresh, healthy foods during these times of uncertainty. Meanwhile, other community organizations, such as A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club, Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama, the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, Legacy YMCA and the Levite Jewish Community Center, have stepped up to the (dinner) plate to serve as distribution centers. And the program is feeding minds, too; thanks to Better Basics, 8,000 new books will be included in boxes for families with young children.
Since the program’s launch in early July, close to 16,000 pounds of fresh food has been distributed throughout the community, and the program shows no sign of slowing down. The “drive-through” model ensures that social distancing protocols are being followed, and regularly scheduled distributions will continue through the end of 2020.
Even as our community adapts to new issues brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bold Goals Coalition continues to solve big community problems by aligning partners, resources and agendas.