Alabama food bank’s future uncertain 1 year into pandemic

Alabama food bank’s future uncertain 1 year into pandemic

FORT DEPOSIT, Ala. (WSFA) - The one year anniversary of the COVID-19 reaching Alabama has arrived. But while medical data seems to suggest we’re in the final days of the pandemic as vaccinations increase, the challenges are just beginning for one Lowndes County food bank.

Harvest Tyme Ministries is harvesting a different kind of yield, and it’s not at all pleasing to Bishop Roger Bryant, who serves as its vice president.

“Since the pandemic, it just slowed everything down,” Bryant explained. “It’s sad because you see the empty shelves. I don’t know where they’re getting their next meal.”

Swept clean because of COVID, the shelves are empty, bare. There’s not a can of food in sight to feed the hungry, who number around 1,500 in the poor, rural county. The last bag of food went out one month ago.

Harvest Tyme Ministries in Fort Deposit is uncertain of its future. The shelves of its food bank are empty as many Lowndes County residents look for help during the pandemic.
Harvest Tyme Ministries in Fort Deposit is uncertain of its future. The shelves of its food bank are empty as many Lowndes County residents look for help during the pandemic. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Tammy Neamon has lost count the number of calls she’s made for assistance. She serves as the ministry’s office manager.

“We don’t know where we’re going,” she admitted.

It was last fall when the food bank got a brand new freezer. Today, it’s doing nothing more than burning up $600 per month in electricity.

“You gotta keep all this going,” said Bryant as he looked around and walked into an empty freezer and cooler.

Yet you won’t find Bryant and Neamon losing faith. If anything, it’s stronger than ever. They believe the clarity of a new day, a new beginning for Harvest Tyme is just around the corner with fresh food donations.

“The good Lord, when He decides it’s time,” said Neamon.

Nationwide, food banks like Harvest Tyme distributed more than 4 million meals from March to October of 2020, and most of the food pantries are serving more people today than one year ago.

“I believe we can bounce back,” said Bryant.

Despite the struggles, in Fort Deposit the faith remains strong. The freezer’s humming with two people more than ready to get beyond the pandemic and close the door on hunger in their community.

Harvest Tyme Ministries could certainly use food donations if you’re in a position to assist. The contact number is: Dr. Debbie Bryant at 334-590-6620.

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