Overcoming Poverty: Brown Bag Bus delivers meals to children in need

This is one part in a multipart series called “Raising the Bar: Overcoming Poverty in Alabama”
The bus stops at neighborhoods where children might not otherwise get the food their growing bodies need.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:41 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A program of the Montgomery-area YMCA aims to combat food deserts in the River Region. The Brown Bag Bus delivers nutritious meals to children who don’t have access to grocery stores or other sources of healthy food.

The program currently covers 500 children in six Montgomery neighborhoods. The goal is to eventually include Elmore County neighborhoods as well.

“It’s all about the children,” the YMCA’s Shirley Rose said as she packed up lunches on the bus.

Each lunch includes a vegetable, fruit, protein and a carton of milk. The meals are delivered in the afternoons Monday through Friday. Rose said they do holidays too.

Raising the Bar: Overcoming Poverty in Alabama

WSFA 12 News is launching a new, multipart series that aims to tackle Alabama’s persistent issues with poverty.

Overcoming Poverty

One patron is Brittania Grayson, who said said her children look forward to the bus’ arrival every day. She said she is grateful for the program, which helps to supplement her family’s food budget.

“It helps out a lot,” she said.

“There was no fresh vegetables in the neighborhood, no grocery stores,” said the YMCA’s Eleanor Thomas, who helps administer the Brown Bag Bus program.

Thomas said the program also helps the YMCA expand its services. She said many of the children who take advantage of the free meals do not take advantage of other YMCA offerings.

“These are people that we don’t normally see at the Y. You have to go to them. They don’t come to us,” she said.

Anyone who would like to help expand the Brown Bag Bus program may email the YMCA at info@ymcamontgomery.org and ask to be added to the volunteer newsletter. The organization is especially looking for bus drivers who have their CDL license.

You can also read more about the program at the Montgomery Area YMCA’s website or mobile app.

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