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Alabama Power Foundation supporting area food banks this holiday season

Inflation-fueled higher food prices, the end of pandemic assistance programs and the closing of some food pantries have contributed to growing food insecurity across the nation, and Alabamians are among those feeling the pinch.

According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report, the rate of food insecurity in homes with children increased from 13% in 2021 to 17% last year. In Alabama, an estimated one in five children experience food insecurity.

Black and Latino families are more likely to face food insecurity, according to Feeding America, a national network of food banks, food pantries and meal programs. One-third of households headed by single moms experience food insecurity, the organization said.

The issue of food insecurity is underscored during the holidays, when the contrast between families with plenty, and those struggling to make ends meet, is most evident.

That’s why the Alabama Power Foundation just awarded grants of $5,000 each to 10 Alabama nonprofits and initiatives that are dedicated to combating food insecurity.

“This holiday season, we wanted to shine a light on the organizations that are making a difference in the fight against hunger,” said Staci Brown Brooks, Alabama Power Foundation president. “By supporting these organizations, we are helping them provide access to nutritious meals and resources to communities and people in need across the state.”

Feeding the Gulf Coast is among the nutrition programs receiving help from the Alabama Power Foundation. Company employees also have volunteered to support the organization. (contributed)

The foundation grants are supporting the following nonprofits: Manna Ministries, based in Alabaster; West Alabama Food Bank in Tuscaloosa; Nourish Foundation in Opelika; Selma Area Food Bank; Feeding the Gulf Coast in Theodore; Heart of Alabama Food Bank in Montgomery; The Red Door Kitchen in Talladega; Wiregrass Area Food Bank in Dothan; and Mission of Hope in Dora. Also receiving support is the mobile food pantry initiative of Feeding the Gulf Coast, which travels to rural locations in counties across southwest Alabama to provide nutrition for families.

Alabama Power employees and retirees are also involved in supporting food banks across the state, volunteering their time and resources through the Alabama Power Service Organization, and the Energizers.

Manna Ministries board member Loralyn Watson said the grant from the Alabama Power foundation “is a testament to their commitment to community welfare.”

She said the grant funds will allow Manna Ministries to buy more than 31,000 pounds of food at reduced cost through the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama. Manna Ministries serves an average 800 families every week.

“The grant will enable us to expand our reach and impact, spreading the spirit of joy and generosity throughout Alabaster,” Watson said.

Higher food prices and reductions in pandemic-related aid programs have driven more families to seek support from Alabama food banks. (contributed)

Cyndy Baggett with Feeding the Gulf Coast said one in six individuals in south Alabama, and one in four children, face food insecurity.

“As an organization, our mission is to fight hunger through community partnerships and programs by creating equitable access to nutritious food and resources for those facing systemic poverty, crisis or disaster,” said Baggett, vice president of Development and Marketing. “Serving this mission is only possible because partners like the Alabama Power Foundation stand alongside us.

“This generous support is incredibly impactful, especially during the holiday season when families, children and seniors face a holiday table that would otherwise be empty,” Baggett said.

Billy Sparkman, president of the board for Red Door Kitchen, said the grant from the Alabama Power Foundation “is huge for us.”

“For them to recognize us this way with this special gift, we certainly appreciate that. It means a lot to us.”

Katie Wolter, executive director of the Nourish Foundation, said the organization provides medical care for underserved children and families that struggle with obesity, pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and other lifestyle illnesses. As part of their nutrition plan, the Nourish Foundation delivers fresh produce boxes weekly to any child or family that is food insecure.

“We are so incredibly grateful for the financial gift received from the Alabama Power Foundation,” Wolter said. “This time of year is especially hard on all of our families, and this support will enable us to continue providing not only medical care and fresh produce to our patients, but also help meet other resource needs and alleviate barriers to improving the health of our community.”

The Alabama Power Foundation is committed to supporting families and empowering communities, bridging the gaps of inequity and improving the quality of life for all Alabamians. Learn more at