Alabama Food Bank Association Receives Support from Wind Creek Hospitality for COVID-19 Relief Efforts

ALABAMA, May 14, 2020 –​ A​labama Food Bank Association today announced it received critical support from ​Wind Creek Hospitality​ to help provide 250,000 meals to Alabama families during the COVID-19 pandemic. This donation comes at a critical time for food banks in Alabama as they respond to a greater need during this unprecedented crisis. Children have lost the school meals they depend on, families are struggling with lost wages, and seniors are more at risk for hunger than ever before.

The Alabama Food Bank Association is grateful to Wind Creek for their tremendous support of Alabama communities. “Because of the generous support from Wind Creek, our food banks are able to serve families experiencing economic crisis during this pandemic,” said Laura Lester, executive director of the Alabama Food Bank Association. “Our network’s hunger-relief programs help deliver millions of pounds of nutritious food to the communities we serve across Alabama.”

Wind Creek’s Director of Public Relations, Magi Williams, explained the donation is all about being a good neighbor. “Wind Creek isn’t on the front lines of the pandemic crisis, but we want to support those who are. We’re proud to come alongside the Alabama Food Bank Association in providing food and hope to families and children who need it most.”

About Alabama Food Bank Association

The Alabama Food Bank Association works to end hunger by assisting the food bank network in obtaining more food and funds, fostering public awareness of the food banks’ mission, and creating partnerships to help alleviate hunger in Alabama. Every day, our eight members in Alabama (Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, Feeding the Gulf Coast, Food Bank of East Alabama, Food Bank of North Alabama, Montgomery Area Food Bank, Selma Food Bank, West Alabama Food Bank, Wiregrass Area Food Bank) partner with a statewide network of food donors, emergency food pantries, and soup kitchens to provide food to hungry people. Fighting hunger requires significant funding for every step of the process—from acquiring food, to storing the food, to transporting the food to people in need. Learn more at​ ​​.

About Wind Creek

Wind Creek Hospitality is an authority of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Wind Creek Hospitality manages the Tribe’s gaming facilities including: Wind Creek Atmore, Wind Creek Wetumpka, Wind Creek Montgomery, Wind Creek Bethlehem, Wa She Shu Casino in Nevada, Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino,, as well as racetracks in Alabama and Florida. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized Indian Tribe in the state of Alabama, operating as a sovereign nation with its own system of government and bylaws. The Tribe operates a variety of economic enterprises, which employ thousands.

Non-Profit Feedback Needed

The COVID-19 Effect on Alabama & Georgia Nonprofits The research project “The COVID-19 Effect on Alabama and Georgia Nonprofits”, conducted by Auburn University’s Cary Center and the Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies Program, wants to better understand the greatest needs of the nonprofit sector in Alabama and Georgia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hope you can participate in a short survey on how the pandemic has affected your nonprofit. The survey will take 5-7 minutes to complete and includes 15 questions, focusing on fundraising, the need for and ability to perform services, and your concerns for the coming weeks. The results will only be shared in aggregate and your identity will not be linked to your responses. 

We will use the results to provide real-time data to government officials, foundations, and other decision-makers about the current economic conditions facing nonprofits and the need for immediate and long-term support in order to ensure the ongoing provision of critical services in Alabama and Georgia. The results of this survey will educate decision-makers on how to best allocate resources to nonprofits in the coming months, e.g. the CARES Act. 

We thank the University of San Diego and The Nonprofit Institute for creating the survey and the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC) for sharing it with its membership.

To access the survey, scan the QR code or click the blue button below.
For any questions regarding this survey, please contact Brittany Branyon at
Complete Survey

USDA Increases Monthly Snap Benefits by 40%

Emergency Benefits Prompted by COVID-19 (Washington, D.C., April 22, 2020) –Today, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced emergency benefit increases have reached $2.0 billion per month for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households across all 50 states and 3 territories to increase food security during the coronavirus national emergency. These emergency benefits represent a 40% increase in overall monthly SNAP benefits, significantly increasing food purchasing power for American families.“These are unprecedented times for American families who are facing joblessness and hunger. USDA is providing a 40% increase in SNAP benefits to ensure that low-income individuals have enough food to feed themselves and their families during this national emergency,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump is taking care of America’s working-class families who have been hit hard with economic distress due to the coronavirus. Ensuring all households receive the maximum allowable SNAP benefit is an important part of President Trump’s whole of America response to the coronavirus.”Background:Currently, a household with two adults, 3 children, and no income can receive the maximum benefit of $768. However, due to reportable income and other factors, the average 5-person household receives significantly less, $528. These emergency benefits would provide the average 5-person household an additional $240 monthly in food purchasing power, bringing the average household up to the same benefit level as households already receiving the maximum.The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), signed into law by President Trump, provided for the issuance of emergency allotments in response to COVID-19. Across the United States, emergency allotments total nearly $2 billion per month, which is in addition to approximately $4.5 billion in benefits already provided to SNAP households each month.All SNAP households that are eligible to receive less than the maximum benefit will receive the emergency allotment supplement to bring them up to the maximum. By law, SNAP households are not permitted to receive more than the maximum allotment. SNAP emergency allotments allow states to raise benefits to the maximum amount for the household’s size for up to two months, and USDA is providing additional guidance today to states that want to further extend these emergency allotments month by month as prescribed by the law.Hawaii – approved last Friday – was the final state agency authorized to provide the emergency allotments, which are now authorized in all 50 states, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. States could request to provide an emergency allotment for current SNAP households beginning in March. USDA is continuing to work closely with states so that supplements are provided in subsequent months as this public health emergency warrants, as outlined in FFCRA. Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of actions that USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has taken to uphold the USDA’s commitment to “Do Right and Feed Everyone” during this national emergency. Other actions include:– Providing more than 227 million pounds of food – valued at $243 million through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), with another $850 million available from the FFCRA and Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act.– Launching Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) to provide the value of school breakfast and lunch to families eligible for free and reduce-price lunch;– Issuing Disaster Household Distributions, food targeted to meet specific needs when traditional channels of food are unavailable, to 16 States and territories, and 29 tribes;– Providing more than one million meals a week to rural children through public-private partnership Meals to You;– Allowing states to serve free meals to children in all areas across more than 35,000 feeding sites nation-wide;– Maximizing flexibilities, such as parent-pickup and meal times requirements, for the free meals provided through schools and other providers;– Increasing access to online purchasing by expanding the online purchasing pilot to cover half of all SNAP households;– Debuting “Meals for Kids” interactive site finder – to help families find meals for children while schools are closed; and– Providing administrative flexibilities in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to allow for social distancing and for State to more quickly process new applications.These actions and more are part of USDA’s focus on service during the COVID-19 outbreak. For additional information on the many actions FNS has taken to respond to COVID-19, visit or follow us @USDANutrition.FNS administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy. 

USDA Approves Program to Feed Kids in Alabama

The Hunger Solutions Institute would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our End Child Hunger in Alabama partners at the Department of Human Resources and the Alabama Department of Education for working tirelessly to make Alabama one of the first states in the nation to implement Pandemic-EBT!

Pandemic EBT to Feed Children during COVID-19 National Emergency
(Washington, D.C., April 22, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced Alabama has been approved to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), a new program authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), signed by President Trump, which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures.
Background:Alabama will be able to operate Pandemic EBT, a supplemental food purchasing benefit to current SNAP participants and as a new EBT benefit to other eligible households to offset the cost of meals that would have otherwise been consumed at school. For the 2019-2020 school year, Alabama had approximately 445,000 children eligible for free-and reduced-priced lunch, or about 62% of children in participating schools. Previous announcements of approvals for Pandemic EBT include: Michigan, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Arizona, and Illinois.
Under FFCRA, states have the option to submit a plan to the Secretary of Agriculture for providing these benefits to SNAP and non-SNAP households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures. State agencies may operate Pandemic EBT when a school is closed for at least five consecutive days during a public health emergency designation during which the school would otherwise be in session.
The implementation of Pandemic EBT is in line with USDA’s commitment to keep Americans safe, secure, and healthy during this national emergency and to keep kids fed when schools are closed. USDA is working with states and local authorities to ensure schools and other program operators can continue to feed children. This latest action complements previously-announced flexibilities for the child nutrition programs that:Allow parents and guardians to pick up meals to bring home to their kids;Temporarily waive meal times requirements to make it easier to pick up multiple-days’ worth of meals at once;Allow meals be served in non-congregate settings to support social distancing;Waive the requirement that afterschool meals and snacks served through certain programs be accompanied by educational activities to minimize exposure to the novel coronavirus; andAllow states, on an individual state-by-state basis, to serve free meals to children in all areas, rather than only those in areas where at least half of students receive free or reduced-price meals.Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of actions that USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has taken to uphold the USDA’s commitment to “Do Right and Feed Everyone” during this national emergency. Other actions include:Launching a new coronavirus webpage to proactively inform the public about USDA’s efforts to keep children and families fed;Providing more than one million meals a week through public-private partnership Meals to You;Increasing access to online purchasing by expanding the online purchasing pilot to more than half of all SNAP households;Debuting “Meals for Kids” interactive site finder – to help families find meals for children while schools are closed across more than 35,000 locations;Allowing states to issue emergency supplemental SNAP benefits totaling more than $2 billion per month to increase recipients’ purchasing power;Collecting solutions to feeding children impacted through; andProviding more than 1,500 administrative flexibilities in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to allow for social distancing.These actions and more are part of USDA’s focus on service during the COVID-19 outbreak. To learn more about FNS’s response to COVID-19, visit’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.

Meal Service Resources

Check out these resources for organizations providing meal services:

Lunch Assist‘s COVID-19 Resource Page provides information about nationwide waivers, worker safety toolkits, leadership tools, and social media resources to support your endeavors getting meals to Alabama children!

School Food Handler has included a COVID-19 Resource Page with useful information, such as Standards of Practice for maintaining the health and safety of staff and participating families. They also provide meal safety inserts to include with pick-up or delivered food items.

No Kid Hungry: Tips for Meal Service during COVID-19

No Kid Hungry hosted a free webinar today to provide organizations offering meal services for children with wisdom from the proverbial “trenches.” Three providers shared their experience providing non-congregate meal services during the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Beth Morris – Lynchburg City Schools (VA)

Format: Meal Pick-Up and Delivery Options

  • 4 Sites were selected for their capacity to serve large numbers and accessibility to families.
  • Meal service is provided Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Meal pick up provides 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches (6 days of breakfast and lunch per week total). All breakfasts are cold items and shelf-stable, and one of the lunches is a hot ready-to-eat lunch, which allowed the school district to utilize hot meal items they current had.
  • Partnered with LCS Transportation – 29 buses deliver meals on elementary school bus routes. Bus routes and delivery times are posted on the district website.
  • Developed a partnership with Parks and Recreation: 3 vans deliver to housing communities with high population of students, and 6 neighborhood community centers provide curb-side pick up locations
  • Documentation: parents sign-out food items and write down the names of children for whom they are picking up meals.
  • Safety: Social distancing is practiced during prep (moved into the school dining hall for more room between employees). All staff wear gloves and masks, wash hands at least once every 45 minutes

Beth Krause – Ithaca City School District

Format: Meal Delivery

  • Each week, parents complete a Google Form on the school website requesting meals (they can also call 211 and someone will assist them in completing the form).
  • Information is sent out to parents via email or text message with instructions for food safety/preparation.
  • Information about meal delivery was posted to the district website and was publicized on the local news.
  • Meals are prepared the day before from shelf-stable items.
  • Coolers are lined up, sanitized, and filled with items before 6am.
  • Coolers and milk is packed on buses. A runner is put on the bus to drop off the meals on the door step at each location.
  • Census information forms are provided with meals.
  • This school district has also used this program to deliver books, diapers and formula, etc.
  • Safety: All work surfaces are sanitized hourly. No one except kitchen staff are allowed in the building.

Heidi Davis – Second Harvest Food Bank (Northeast TN)

Format: Community Choice Model (Rural Community)

  • All meals are shelf stable or thaw-and-serve.
  • Families may opt to pick up or receive delivery – families expressed need by calling into a community center.
  • Utilized an app for documentation and each child receiving meals had a unique pin number that was entered when the meal was received. (May need a back up recording method for pin numbers in areas that are rural and have unreliable cell phone service/internet connectivity).
  • Recommendation: Talk to members of the community to get feedback about needs and potential partnerships.
Source: No Kid Hungry

See a recording of the webinar here.

Every Child Counts: Census 2020

With all of the chaos of the novel coronavirus pandemic, it may be easy to overlook the 2020 Census. But making sure every Alabama child is counted means more funding for the state to ensure their future needs are met!

Please join VOICES for Alabama’s Children in their push to remind Alabama families to take the census.

Click the link above for media tool kits, printable posters, and palm cards. These simple graphics can be added to your organization’s emails as a concise reminder to families that completion of the 2020 Census is crucial to making sure Alabama receives the funding and programs it needs!

According to, the following Alabama counties currently have a response rate of less than 41%: Coosa, Perry, Sumter, Wilcox, Macon, Pike, Greene, Marengo, Washington, Monroe, Conecuh, and Lowndes. (Counties in bold currently have less than 31% response rate.) Please help us target these counties and increase the response rate so every child is counted!

NonProfit Relief Funds

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27th, and it includes relief options available to the non-profit community. These include the Paycheck Protection Program, the Expanded Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Emergency Grants, and the Midsize Loan program. (Source)

Download the chart, from the National Council of NonProfits, here:

For additional tips on applying for non-profit relief funds, please take a look at this article from Independent Sector.