United Way lends a helping hand to the Selma Area Food Bank

Published 11:30 pm Monday, November 30, 2009

Offering foods at a cost of 19 cnets per pound, the Selma Area Food Bank provides food to 84 agencies in Dallas, Perry, Wilcox and Marengo counties.

The food bank feeds, on average, 15,888 clients per month with 114,000 pounds of food per month, a total of 1.3 million pounds per year. About 95 percent of the food distributed by the center comes from the Montgomery Food Bank through a national program called Feeding America, the largest national hunger-relief program.

“We get a fair amount of food though the USDA,” said J.D. Parks, executive director of the Selma Area Food Bank.

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The USDA buys foods to donate to food banks. The foods range from orange juice, to ground beef, to canned green beans. Companies also donate products with damaged boxes not available for retail or “what doesn’t sell for whatever reason,” Parks said. The remaining donations are from individuals and local food drives. All donations are stored on the warehouse shelves and in the freezer or cooler areas.

“For every dollar donated to us, we can buy 12.5 pounds of food,” Parks said.

The food bank is solely a distribution center, providing to agencies that serve to people living below the poverty line, an amount that is determined by the amount of people in the family sustaining from one salary.

The food bank receives $10,00 per year from the United Way to cover part of the $150,000 budget.

“It was started as a project of the United Way,” said Jeff Cothran, executive director of the Selma and Dallas County United Way. Councilwoman Rita Sims Franklin, the Kiwanis and Rotary club, among other people and agencies, helped to form the Selma Area Food Bank in 1983. “It has been an awesome project. It has continually grown and grown.”