Giving Tuesday in Alabama: How to stretch your donated dollar

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Think purchasing canned goods for donation is the best way to help your local food bank? Think again.

A can of black beans will set you back 48 cents at Walmart. Give that 48 cents to the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama in Birmingham, and they can turn it into four meals. According to their website, a $10 donation can provide 60 meals to food insecure Alabamians.

“A lot of people think of going to the grocery store and doing that,” CEO of the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama Brett Meredith said. “But one of the best ways for you to support a food bank is by giving your dollars to the food bank through our website or whatever way you choose to do it, because we can take that dollar and stretch it much farther.”

Of course, donations of purchased canned and nonperishable foods are appreciated too.

“We’re always open to receiving those donations,” Meredith said. “However, one of the best ways you can do it is by giving on the website.”

Due to their relationships with wholesalers and the USDA, food banks within Feeding America‘s nationwide network of food banks, like Birmingham’s, can purchase and receive items for much less than any donor could.

“We don’t buy a few cans of tomato soup,” Meredith said. “We buy 10 pallets or 20 pallets at a time. That allows us to get things in and ship them out in a very appropriate way to all of our agencies.”

The food bank provides food to over 250 soup kitchens, church pantries, and children’s programs in 12 counties across Central Alabama.

Donate to the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama here.

In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, here’s a list of other nonprofits to consider supporting:

1. United Way of Central Alabama

United Way is Central Alabama’s all-encompassing charitable organization, serving over 175 agencies. The organization’s resources includes food pantries, job assistance programs, offering help to students applying for financial aid, providing financial education and providing meals to the food insecure through Meals on Wheels. You can donate to United Way here.

2. Ronald McDonald House of Central Alabama

(Courtesy: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama Facebook)

Did you know you can help support the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama by just collecting the pop tabs off of soda and other cans? Collecting and turning in pop tabs from cans brings thousands of dollars into the Ronald McDonald House yearly. The foundation helps underprivileged families in Alabama and around the globe. You can donate to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama here.

3. Cahaba Riverkeeper

(Courtesy: Cahaba Riverkeeper Facebook)

The Cahaba Riverkeeper is the defender against all things pollution in the Cahaba. The riverkeeper team takes weekly pollution measurements in numerous parts of the river running through the outskirts of Birmingham and miles farther. They use those measurements to tell us where to and where not to swim on the river, based on the number of pollutants. To continue defending the river, they could use your donations. You can donate here.

4.Sidewalk Film Center and Cinemas

Sidewalk Film Festival 2015_116378
(Courtesy: Sidewalk Film Center and Cinemas)

Help your local independent movie theater! It’s been a whirlwind of a year for this independent nonprofit theater and annual film festival producer. Because movie theaters have had to close and slash capacity numbers, Sidewalk hasn’t been able to sell many tickets or hold their film festival in its usual location. To help them, you can go see a movie – you can buy tickets here. You can also donate directly to them here.

5. REV Birmingham

(Courtesy/ REV Birmingham Facebook)

Help your local Magic City Entrepreneur! REV Birmingham is an organization working to help downtown small businesses and build community. Generally, small businesses have suffered as a result of the pandemic and economic slowdown. To help businesses that have taken a hit, REV Birmingham needs your help. You can help them help others here.


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