The West Alabama Food Bank kicked off "Imagine West Alabama!", its 5-year campaign and capital plan to alleviate hunger at a reception last week.

Approximately 75 civic and community leaders throughout West Alabama attended the event in support of the $10 million plan to alleviate hunger in the area.

Imagine West Alabama! will run from 2022 through 2026 and aims to increase the organization's capacity, starting with a location change from the nonprofit's home in Northport to a larger space in Tuscaloosa.

The Food Bank purchased a 10-acre property formerly owned by Buffalo Rock Company and sold their old space earlier this year. Renovations in the new space are underway and The Food Bank plans to relocate by the end of the year.

The campaign's goal is to raise at least $3.77 million with a stretch goal of $5 million in support of the overall $10 million plan. David Popen, campaign director thanked the 18-member campaign cabinet leadership team who gave their time to ensure the campaign's success. He also announced that the food bank has already raised almost $2 million in cash and multi-year pledges from 38 public and private donors.

“Last year alone, we operated programs that distributed more than 4.8 million pounds of food to people in need. The year before almost 6 million pounds,” said Jean Rykaczewski, CEO of The West Alabama Food Bank during the event, "Despite tripling food distribution since 2015, current and anticipated demand by food insecure children, young people, adults, and seniors in our service area will grow significantly. Relocating to a new, larger campus is critical to our growth.”

Rykaczewski also said The Food Bank has been "forced to turn away truckloads of available food requiring cold storage" because of a lack of storage. So the new, larger location will allow for additional staff and programming to the community.

In addition to the new space, the new plan also includes SNAP services, a Food Pharmacy, a teaching kitchen and an outdoor community garden in the new location.

"We plan to host ongoing cooking demonstrations and classes in collaboration with community partners," said, "We will add critical staff in the areas of food sourcing, delivery, and child services.”

For more information on how to support the West Alabama Food Bank and its Imagine West Alabama! plan and campaign, please contact David Popen, Campaign Director at 615-788-4841 or or visit

Top Stories from the Tuscaloosa Thread (10/17 - 10/24)

16 of the Top Stories published by the Tuscaloosa Thread during the week of October 17th, 2022.

More From 95.3 The Bear