Hundreds of thousands of Alabamians lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. Over 1,200 people filed for unemployment due to the pandemic just last week.
Even with many businesses reopening in the area, the Rose of Sharon Soup Kitchen says they're seeing a consistent increase in food need. One young girl is helping to fill that need.
12-year-old Kendall Preston put on a food drive for the Rose of Sharon for her birthday in January. She was able to donate some of the items she collected, but the pandemic slowed things down a bit.
Kendall was back delivering more food on Wednesday. While she was there, she was awarded with a plaque from the Rose of Sharon owner to show their appreciation.
"There are people that can't get food on their own and they just need some help sometimes," said Kendall. "Everybody needs help, and there's different ways that you can help out and this was just the way that I decided to do it."
They say these donations are more important now than ever as people in Huntsville continue to struggle financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rose of Sharon Soup Kitchen Owner Theresa Wilson said, "We are seeing a lot of new faces at our soup kitchen and food pantry, faces of people that would never reach out for assistance before to a resource such as ours because they've been furloughed and laid off."
Although the need is rising, the donations are going down.
"People aren't able to shop or they're not able to come out," said Wilson.
The soup kitchen is still giving out 100 food boxes a week, which they say is a significant increase.
"This time last year, we were giving about 20 food boxes a week, and so it's up about 80 per week," said Wilson. "With donations down because of the COVID, it makes it kind of tricky just to get the resource out to the people who need it."
The food boxes include non perishable items like cereal and peanut butter and fresh foods like produce, milk, and frozen meats.
"If anybody is hungry, they can come here. We will get them signed up for a food box, and we will make sure that they are fed," said Wilson. "There's absolutely no criteria for getting a food box, so you just come and you can get a sack lunch outside. You can get a cold drink and will give you a food box."
The Rose of Sharon is always taking up food donations and monetary donations. You can drop donations off at their building at 723 Arcadia Circle in Huntsville Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.