Cal-Maine Foods made a donation of 64,800 eggs to Feeding the Gulf Coast, which will make its way to families in need across the Gulf Coast.
At a press conference Friday, Feeding the Gulf Coast’s interim president and CEO Dave Reaney said the donation was made possible by the coordination of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, with transportation help from the Alabama Trucking Association.
“I call this 32 thousand omelets,” Reaney said.
In May, the food bank distributed the second-highest amount of food for the community that they had since Hurricane Katrina. The only time they saw more food distribution was in the wake of Hurricane Michael in 2018.
Reaney told Lagniappe the food bank distributed 40% more food in May 2020 than they did the previous year. While Feeding the Gulf Coast normally distributed about 25 million pounds of food per year, Reaney said the food bank will probably distribute about 40 million pounds this year.
He said the pandemic posed a problem for the food bank that they did not encounter when dealing with other disasters. Since the pandemic affected the entire nation, they did not have the support from other food banks that they experienced when providing relief after Hurricane Michael and other natural disasters.
Additionally, many church pantries, which receive food from Feeding the Gulf Coast and distribute it within their communities, aren’t operating, due to the retirees who run them being at high risk in regard to the novel coronavirus. Reaney estimates that around 30 percent of the food pantries they donate to are not currently operating.
The demographics of people the food bank serves have broadened, as those who lost their job, but do not qualify for unemployment, like independent contractors, seek help.
As people began buying more food products in grocery stores and their stocks ran low, the food bank saw fewer donations. Reaney said this made Cal-Maine Food’s donation more valuable.
“I think the thing that is unique about eggs is — some things, you have to talk people into how to fix it or prepare it — almost everybody can boil an egg,” Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate said. “Everybody can scramble an egg. Everybody can fry an egg. It is a great source of protein.”
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