May 14—Cullman Caring for Kids celebrated the arrival of its new mobile food bank Friday morning, and is planning to use it as a safer and more convenient option for families and individuals to receive the assistance they need.
The organization held a ribbon cutting for the mobile food bank with all of its staff members and representatives from other local nonprofits and businesses.
Funding for the food bank first came from Publix to pay for the trailer, and additional funds came from the United Way of Cullman County to purchase and install everything needed in its interior, Cullman Caring for Kids Executive Director Javon Daniel said.
"We are so thankful and proud of this community coming together and allowing us to be able to do the mobile food bank," he said.
Daniel said the conversation for the mobile food bank really started last year when the COVID-19 pandemic began affecting the area, as CARTS buses were no longer running for seniors to come to the food bank and some of the families with small children were not able to come.
It will also provide more convenience to anyone in the outer edges of the county who may not have the time or ability to travel to Cullman, and will serve Cullman Caring for Kids' mission to make sure no one goes hungry, he said.
"That's what it's all about," he said. "Making sure that children don't have to go to bed hungry, that the elderly don't have to miss two or three days of meals because they don't have any food."
Daniel said the mobile food bank will go out to different parts of the county each Wednesday with a rotating location.
He said the rotation will stay the same for each Wednesday of the month, meaning the first Wednesday of the month will always be reserved for the same location, the second Wednesday will be the next location, and so on.
The first mobile offering will be on Wednesday at Hanceville City Hall. The other three communities the food bank will be visiting each month are Crane Hill, West Point and Simcoe, Daniel said.
The food bank will open in those areas from 9 a.m. to noon, or until the food runs out.
The mobile food bank will follow the same requirements as Caring for Kids' Cullman location, so anyone looking to receive the free food has to meet the required income qualification, live in Cullman County, have a photo ID and either have their paperwork already on file or fill it out when they arrive.
"It's free food and it's good food, but you still have to meet the qualifications," he said.
The exact locations for the mobile food bank in those communities has not yet been set, so anyone who wants to visit the food bank when it is visiting their part of the county can keep an eye on the Cullman Caring for Kids Facebook page to get the latest details.
With the expansion of services into the edges of the county, that means more food will be distributed than ever before, so donations are needed to make sure families are still able to get the food they need, Daniel said.
"Our shelves are a little low right now, so we're asking if you would like to donate food, please do," he said. "Because this is going to make it thinner than what it is right now."
Donations can be dropped off at Cullman Caring for Kids, located at 402 Arnold St NE, during its regular operating hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1-3 p.m., and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Checks can be mailed to PO Box 698, Cullman, AL 35056, or donations can be made online at cullmancaringforkids.com.