AUBURN, Ala. – It might be a startling number, but for 1 in 6 Americans, hunger is a reality. And in Alabama, that number is still a factor.
1 in 6 Alabamians struggle to provide adequate food for themselves and their families. Auburn athletics took notice and is trying to strike out hunger.
One of those ways is by donating food. Every week this year, volunteers come out to events put on by the Jason Dufner foundation, like this one at the auburn arena, to pack and deliver lunches for children in Lee county. Cereal, apple sauce and ravioli are the big ticket items. Such a simple donation for most, can lead to a full belly for the more than 24,000 people in Lee county affected by hunger. And I think the volunteers know that… from the smiles on their faces, to the systematic rhythm. Volunteers like Gloria Caples say they just want to make a difference.
“So it’s really eye opening to see how many each week that we package and how many children we’re helping through this process,” says Caples.
But it doesn’t stop there. Auburn softball plays a big part as well. This season, Caitlin Myers, wife of softball assistant coach Corey Myers, came up with the idea to host a food drive at the games.
“I have been helping our church every Thursday get ready for the food pantry every week. And through that I’ve learned the incredible need there is in our area,” says Caitlin Myers. And fans responded well, donating about 7,000 pounds of food to the East Alabama food bank.
“Having Auburn Athletics come in and step up to the plate to help us, especially with the timing of softball season, helps us when we get into the summer months when we really have a low supply of food going out to agencies who are feeding families. Who during the summer months have their children at home. and who have that extra burden of having to provide extra meals,” says Michelle Held.
Each month, the food bank distributes more than 375,000 pounds of food to a network of 200 plus nonprofits to help those in need.
A total of four counties alone have at least a 30% food insecurities rate.
The “End Child Hunger in Alabama” task force overseas a lot of programs at auburn university. Their goal is simple…
“We wanted our first outreach initiative to be in alabama and to deal with children. because food insecurity among children is a critical issue that affects 1 in 5 children nationally and more than 1 in 4 children in our state,” says Harriet Giles.
While many of us forget the direct connection to food insecurity in our state. Auburn athletics wants to remind us that we can end child hunger in Alabama together.
And they plan to continue this outreach for the many years to come.