Community Market and Food Bank of East Alabama fight hunger in Lee County

LEE COUNTY, Ala — Tuesday, WRBL is proud to announce another of its Kids Summer Cupboard Food Drives.  This event will be held between 10:30 am – 5:30 pm CT in Auburn at Publix, located at 2415 Moore’s Mill Road.

It’s sponsored by Energy Savers Air Conditioning, Heating and Indoor Air Quality. All of the donations from today’s drive will benefit the Food Bank of East Alabama.

The Food Bank of East Alabama does so much good work to combat hunger and poverty in our area. The Community Market in Opelika is one of many ways the food bank works to make a difference.

Meet Elsie Lott.  She’s the boss at Community Market.  But to watch her work, you’d never know it.

“My mom, before she passed, this is something she would do years ago. She would always feed everybody in the neighborhood. So, I watched it as a child growing up. There were homeless people, and my mom would make sure that they had food,” Lott says.

“There were kids in the neighborhood who didn’t have what we had, so my mom would always make sure that those kids in the neighborhood had food, so I learned it at an early age to love people, just be kind.  I guess I can give that to my mom. She did that.”

No doubt . . .Elsie Lott’s mom would be proud of her little girl– all grown up and coordinator of the Community Market in Opelika, a position she’s held since the East Alabama Food Bank opened the facility fourteen years ago. In that time, she’s impacted countless lives— like Susan Smith’s.

“Really, I’ve tried to go back to work . . . And I’m just . . Unable to you, know?  I mean, it has . . . You know, it’s been hard,” says Smith.

Smith broke her leg a few years ago.After that, a series of infections set in. The doctors had no choice but to amputate her leg. That put her out of work and into hard times. In the community market, she’s not only finds food, but the nourishment of human kindness in the volunteers.

“I just think that’s wonderful that they volunteer their time and come here and do something that they don’t have to do every day,” Smith told News 3.

LuAnne Townsend is one of those volunteers.

“I believe that you should give back to the community that you live in. And there’s such a need for a food bank because so many people are hungry, and we just don’t realize it,” Townsend says.

Another thing many people don’t realize is that a stereotype for the face of the hungry no longer exists.Your friends and neighbors who work full-time may very well be in need of food.

“So we serve working families. Not everybody is poor, but folks are working and really struggling and really having a hard time,” says Lott.

But those hard times are made a little easier for people living in Lee County– thanks to Opelika’s Community Market and warm-hearted people like Elsie Lott.

“Yes, yes. This is a great place to live. Yeah, Opelika and Auburn is a great place to live,” Lott tells News 3.

To learn more about the Food Bank of East Alabama, including how you can donate and volunteer, please click here.

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