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  1. The Impact of the Government Shutdown

    by Don Rose | Comments (0)

    Bay Area Food Bank is busy gearing up for the holiday season. We are open and the federal government shutdown will not interrupt our day to day operations. Unfortunately, it is likely our agencies will see an increased need for food due to the shutdown and some government programs might be affected.


    United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) commodities from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) are a key source to providing much needed food to our partner agencies and their clients. These commodities are expected to continue arriving at the food bank through December, but we are at risk for not being reimbursed for our normal administrative costs for distributing this product. The USDA also is unable to guarantee any TEFAP deliveries after December until funding is restored. This is uncharted territory for everyone. An extended gap in TEFAP products would be felt throughout our network. Bay Area Food Bank is aggressively pursuing other food sources and is in constant contact with our state agencies and our national Feeding America network.

    The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which the Bay Area Food Bank distributes for some seniors in Mississippi, also faces an uncertain future without new federal funding. Existing inventories of CSFP food packages are still being distributed until inventories are depleted.


    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP formerly food stamps) benefits will continue to be provided to participants at least through October. However, uncertainty exists about whether the federal government will fund new benefits after November 1 without a budget deal. If funded, SNAP benefits are expected to decline November 1 due to the early ending of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funding. The average family of four will see monthly benefits reduced about $36.  Despite the reduction and funding uncertainties, agencies can tell clients that SNAP EBT cards will continue to work and can still be used in stores. The recent EBT outage on October 12 was unrelated to the federal government shutdown and was due to a computer glitch by the state government’s EBT card contractor.  The state food stamp offices will continue to process applications and issue benefits. Our SNAP Outreach Program in Alabama will still conduct outreach and submit applications to Alabama DHR for review. They may be contacted at (251) 653-1617 ext. 142.


    Please check our website for further updates as these situations progress.


  2. Charity Navigator names Bay Area Food Bank one of the nation's "10 Top-Notch Charities"

    by Morgan Smith | Comments (0)


    The food bank staff and board were honored to learn that Charity Navigator, America's leading independent charity evaluator, has named Bay Area Food Bank as one of its “10 Top-Notch Charities." Charity Navigator works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health, accountability and transparency of 6,000 of America's largest charities.

    The ten charities honored with the national “Top-Notch” title not only earned the coveted 4-star rating for financial health, but also earned 4-stars in accountability and transparency. In other words, the 10 charities adhere to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and they execute their missions in a fiscally responsible way.

    Bay Area Food Bank is also ranked first in the state of Alabama with an overall rating of 69.83 out of 70. For more information about Charity Navigator and the methodology used to determine ratings, please click here. To view Bay Area Food Bank’s Charity Navigator page, please click here.



  3. Hunger in America Study

    by Lisa Christopher | Comments (1)


    I got involved with the Hunger in America study to gain experience in the research aspect of community nutrition and to complete volunteering hours for a class at school, although I ended up gaining much more than that. I was able to see first-hand the poverty and need in the tri-state area. I also enjoyed getting to meet the directors of the various food pantries at each site and listening to how each site had a different method for distributing food to those in need.

    Because of the way the hunger study is set up, it's easy to start volunteering, even if you are working around a busy schedule. Most projects only last a few hours and the work is easy to do and enjoyable. I would encourage anyone thinking about getting involved in their community to look into volunteering for the hunger study at Bay Area Food Bank. It is well worth the time and a great experience for those that love to give back.


    Lisa Christopher is a guest blogger who assisted Bay Area Food Bank with the client survey portion of the Hunger in America study. Lisa is from Grand Bay, AL and is currently studying Nutrition and Dietetics at Auburn University.


    Hunger Study volunteers are needed through the end of August. If you're interested in helping out with the study, please contact Karla Gardner at (251) 653-1617 ext. 127 or



  4. Ending Hunger in Alabama Task Force

    by Morgan Smith | Comments (0)

    Bay Area Food Bank employees PJ Cowan, Mae Nash and Dave Reaney have been chosen to serve on Lt. Governor Ivey’s Alabama Child Hunger Task Force. The task force is comprised of leaders and experts from institutions, corporations, and state and federal government all working together to address child hunger in Alabama.

    The goal of the task force is to greatly reduce food insecurity and health complications associated with hunger among Alabama’s children. Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University has been chosen to lead the initiative and Lt. Governor Ivey will serve as spokesperson. The task force will work with communities, families and children to increase access to nutritious food, promote healthy lifestyle and reduce child hunger in Alabama.

    As a result of Bay Area Food Bank’s success with child nutrition programs, the food bank will be a principal organization the task force looks to for guidance and solutions. The food bank is especially proud of Mae Nash and PJ Cowan for being chosen to serve alongside such esteemed state leaders.
    Mae Nash came to the food bank in 2011 as a Child Hunger Corps member. The Child Hunger Corps is a national service program designed to increase the capacity and capability of food banks to execute programs targeted towards the alleviation of child hunger. The objective of the program is to increase the number of nutritious snacks and meals served to children in need in local communities across the country. Mae was recently honored as the food bank’s Summer 2012 Hunger Hero for her many accomplishments on the Child Nutrition Team.

    PJ Cowan started at the food bank as an AmeriCorps VISTA on the SNAP Outreach Team in 2011. AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service program designed specifically to fight poverty, illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, and strengthen community groups. Due to his exceptional dedication and commitment to the fight against hunger, PJ was hired as a SNAP Outreach Coordinator at the end of his AmeriCorps VISTA service term and now heads up Government Relations for the food bank as well.

    Other members of the task force include: Dr. Tommy Bice, State Superintendent of Alabama State Department of Schools; Jeremy Arthur, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama; John McMillan, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries; and Nancy Buckner, Commissioner of Alabama Department of Human Resources.

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