Mobile Fresh

Farmers to Families Program

Community Food Bank of Central Alabama is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and local for-profit food distributors to implement the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) or the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Farmers to Families delivers large amounts of fresh foods to partner sites to be quickly distributed to individuals in need. All foods are prepackaged by for-profit distributors into grocery boxes ranging in size from 15-25 lbs. These preassembled boxes are then delivered directly to partner sites who distribute them to participating families via a “drive-through” distribution system that day. By serving families in their vehicles, volunteers are able to maintain safe social distancing in accordance with CDC guidance.

Corner Market

The food bank launched the Corner Market last August of 2017 to provide healthy, affordable food to low-income families, disabled people, and senior citizens living in neighborhoods without full-service grocery stores. The market serves as a grocery store on wheels. Customers file through the single aisle of the 24-foot trailer browsing through fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy products, pasta, bread, and other food items. Currently, the Corner Market makers twice monthly visits in Pratt City and Tarrant, and once monthly stops in Dora, Fountain Heights, and Oakman.

While waiting to get inside the trailer to shop for groceries, customers can take advantage of other on-site services. Representatives are on hand to provide health screenings, information about SNAP benefits, Medicare Savings Programs, Farmers’ Market vouchers, and other services. There are also educational cooking demonstrations that offer customers tips on how to prepare nutritious meals for their families.

In a typical month, about 150 people shop at the market, and the food bank plans to extend that reach by adding additional stops as it becomes feasible.

Double Up Bucks

  • What is it: Double Up Food Bucks helps low-income families on SNAP eat more fruits and vegetables while supporting American farmers and growing local economies. (SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps.)
  • How does it work: For instance, if a family spends $20 in their SNAP benefits at the farmers market, they get $20 in Double Up Food Bucks to spend on locally grown fruits and vegetables. This means they bring home $40 of healthy food for just $20.
  • Benefits: Double Up is a win/win/win: Low-income families eat more healthy food, area farmers gain new customers and make more money, and more food dollars stay in the local economy. Each has a positive ripple effect of benefits.
  • The markets currently accepting EBT and DUFB are:
    -Greene Street Market 304 Eustis Ave. SE, Huntsville AL
    -Eastlake Market 7753 1st Ave. S, Birmingham AL
    -Bessemer Rec Center 100 14th St. S, HWY 150, Bessemer, AL

Mobile Pantries

One way Community Food Bank addresses “food deserts” (neighborhoods without a full service grocery store, limited transportation, and high rates of diet-related diseases), is through our Mobile Pantry Program. Mobile pantries allow us to take food directly where it is needed. Through this program we provide fresh produce in addition to shelf stable groceries that families can use to make healthy meals.

Currently, we operate 4 Mobile Pantries:

  • Tarrant Elementary:  1269 Portland St. Birmingham, AL 35217, 3rd Saturday of each month, 8:30 am
  • Montevallo Boys & Girls Club:  420 Vine St. Montevallo, AL 35115, 4th Thur. of each month, 8:30 am
  • Jonesboro Elementary: 125 Owen Ave. Bessemer, AL 35020, 3rd Saturday of each month, 11 am
  • Oneonta:  619 Woodmeadow St. Oneonta, AL 35121, Wednesday after the first Friday of each month
I moved to Birmingham to serve as an AmeriCorps member last July, and the small living stipend we were given made me eligible for SNAP benefits. I was told early on that my benefits would be doubled when I bought produce at the farmer's market. I care about supporting local farmers and eating healthy, so I was grateful that the farmer's market could be more accessible to me than it would have been otherwise, if I wasn't receiving the double benefits. I loved incorporating the market into my weekly routine - I would often walk from my apartment to Pepper Place, and many of the vendors and volunteers became familiar faces. Pretty much every week, I bought the most amazing shiitake mushrooms from a couple who harvests them from their backyard, and they would give out recipes for great mushroom-related recipes that I'm still making. The market at Pepper Place became a community for me, and it made my transition to a new place a little bit easier.