Food Bank of Alaska Receives $50,000 Grant from Walmart Foundation
Feeding Alaska: Food Bank Gains Summer Push
The Walmart Foundation awards the Food Bank of Alaska with a $50,000 grant to help fight hunger. The Food Bank of Alaska, who works with more than 300 partner agencies across the state, says the money translates to about 150,000 meals worth of food.
Food Bank officials said the $50,000 grant couldn't be more timely with the rising demand for food assistance. Last year's report said there were over 100,000 Alaskans struggling with hunger.
In addition to the grant, the Food Bank of Alaska said it receives about $325,000 pounds of food a year from Walmart.
The Food Bank is aiming to use the latest $50,000 donation to purchase fresh foods and vegetables to improve the nutrition of low-income families.
"Given that hunger is on the rise, given that food donations--which we appreciate so much-- are kind of holding steady, we need grant donations like this one to be able to fill the gap and get everybody fed," said Food Bank of Alaska Executive Director Susannah Morgan.
The Map the Meal Gap report, a national study reporting the access of food for assistance needs, showed a leap from more than 90,000 Alaskans in 2009 to well over 104,000 Alaskans in 2010, displaying an increase of over 14,000 more Alaskans.
One agency looking to settle that fight is New Hope in Anchorage on the corner of 13th Avenue and E Street.
"We have single mothers and single dads that come here to get food to feed their families. We have senior citizens that are living on a fixed income, and then we have some people that are between jobs that are just trying to make it until they find the next job to be able to provide for their families," said New Hope Executive Director Brian Shaffer.
New Hope distributes food to families from its food pantry every Tuesday and volunteers to run the Food Bank's Mobile Food Pantry every Thursday.
"We feel really privileged to be a part of making connections that change lives for good. It's a great fulfillment of our mission right here at New Hope," said Shaffer.
In addition to feeding families all year, an increase arises in the summer to help feed children who received assistance from in-school programs throughout the school year.
"Kids are out of school, so kids might get breakfast and lunch during the school year at school, but when they're out of school we need to make sure they're feed during the summer time. So to see donations coming in right now is a real burst of hope for us," said Morgan.
The Food Bank, along with its partner agencies, said their pleased to see support from large donors, but said every donation counts in the fight to end hunger in the Last Frontier.
"We're a food chain, so there are many links in the chain to get food from donated food, to purchased food, to the food bank, to the partners, to the final recipients. And we just adore being part of this large collaboration to make it all happen," said Morgan.
The Food Bank of Alaska distributed a record high 6.7 million pounds of food in 2011.