By Ameera Steward
The Birmingham Times
The Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (HABD) and Community Food Bank of Central Alabama were in Elyton Village on Tuesday as part of a collaboration that helps provide food assistance to families throughout the city.
Previous stops were made at Smithfield Court and the Campus of Hope in Gate City.
“Our partners at the Food Bank operate with military-like precision with their logistics,” said HABD President/CEO Michael Lundy. “This group matches their compassion with their professionalism. As a result, hundreds of families are relieved of the burden of providing healthy meals for their families. This benefits all of us.”
“We are thrilled to partner with the Housing Authority of Birmingham and their incredible team who help us address the issue of food insecurity in our community by helping us move food from our shelves to the pantries of families trying to eat healthy,” said Food Bank Executive Director, Kathryn Strickland.
Joseph Bryant, Interim Vice President of Community Engagement for HABD, said the partnership began a few weeks ago when the Food Bank approached HABD and said they have an abundance of fresh quality food and “wanted to see did we have a population that could be served by this.”
The Community Food Bank delivers fresh milk, fruit, eggs and other foods including meats.
“It’s not just for the residents of that specific site,” Bryant said. “Like here at Elyton, we’ll have residents from Elyton come and get their allotment but . . . we’re going to put other things on the buses and take them throughout the city. So we have enough food for about 900 families.”
The buses go throughout Birmingham from Gate City to Roosevelt City, said Bryant.
Birmingham City Councilor Sheila Tyson said she was pleased to see the food not only goes to the Housing Authority but schools and senior citizens as well.
“They’re getting milk; they’re getting fruit, frozen vegetables, protein, stuff that we need to keep our bodies healthy and strong. It’s very easy to tell you to go buy something but where is the money,” said Tyson.
Bryant said volunteers from almost every department at HABD pitches in.
“Working with HABD and the food drive and the food giveaway, it’s been a blessing and more of this needs to take place,” said Essie Brown, HABD employee and program specialist at Loveman Village. “We have so many people out there that we don’t know is hungry, hurting and in need and so when they leave here, to me when I see their expressions I just say ‘Thank you God we were able to help.’”
The event was bittersweet for Tyson. It’s one of her final acts as a council member. Later this month she will take her new seat as a Jefferson County Commissioner for District 2.
“I am leaving the council, but I’m never leaving the community,” Tyson said. “These are the types of partnerships that strengthen communities.”