The West Alabama Food Bank is growing to fight food insecurity.  When you sit down to dinner this evening look at the food on your plate and realize there are hundreds in West Alabama that will have an empty plate. Hunger is not just a "Third World" issue, it is an Alabama issue. That is what makes the job being done by the West Alabama Food Bank so vital to many of our neighbors and prompted a need for a larger facility.

They made the move a little over a year ago and already the new space is being stretched. That gives you an idea about how critical their job is.

Alabama is the fourth poorest state in the U.S., and 19.2 percent of Alabamians live below the federal poverty line. 18.8% of Alabamians are food insecure according to advocacy group Alabama Possible.

Some people begrudge the availability of Food Stamps but realize this, the average monthly food stamp benefit per person is just $90.50. Could you live off that? What's worse is thousands of Alabama's children go to bed hungry each night. That stunts their growth physically and mentally.

This is where the West Alabama Food Bank comes in. They feed 2,000 children a weekend and provide 2,000 food boxes to seniors monthly. It doesn't cover the total need, but it makes a difference in the lives of those who receive the assistance.

Helping those in need and providing the space to store food and run various programs is what prompted the move. "Before, at our old location we would get calls about donating a truckload of chicken, truckload of strawberries and we would have to turn it down because we didn't have adequate places to store it properly," West Alabama Food Bank Executive Director Jean Rykacewski told news partner ABC 3340.

A new demonstration kitchen will allow the food bank to teach first-hand how to stretch a meal and provide healthier food options.

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