United Way hosts community-wide food drive

Jan. 25—The United Way of Cullman County is responding to the increased demand of local community food banks by hosting its first community-wide food drive Feb. 6-11.

United Way Executive Director Waid Harbison said that during the several community needs assessment meetings held in 2022, the topic of increased demand was continuously brought up by the representatives of local food banks and feeding ministries.

"We have heard from our United Way Food Bank, Cullman Caring for Kids, as well as all the other food banks and feeding ministries in Cullman County that the number of families coming in each month has been increasing in alarming numbers. Most of the local food banks fed nearly double their averages this past year from the previous year," Harbison said in a release sent to The Times.

Harbison said that while inflation continues to rise, income levels in Cullman County have remained stagnant for several years which has resulted in local food banks needing to serve more families on tighter budgets.

"Things are just more expensive now. These places are getting one can for the same price that they could have gotten two cans for last year. With the way that everything is right now donations are also going down while the need is going up," Harbison said.

Local businesses are being encouraged to participate by hosting their own food drives and asking employees to donate as much food as possible during this week. Harbison said that the United Way plans on making this effort an annual event to take place each February.

A list of the donation sites is available at uwaycc.org and include grocery stores, churches and the United Way office at Depot Park. Two manned donation sites will also be stationed at both the north and south Walmart locations.