Halos of Hope in North Alabama

Often times, our heart strings are pulled when we see the commercials for providing aid to children in third world countries. The children who are living in poverty, malnourished, and struggling. But how often do we stop to ask ourselves “Are there struggling children in my community?” My neighborhood? The answer is YES.
In the state of Alabama, there are NO counties that do not have families living in poverty.
http://map.feedingamerica.org/county/2014/overall/alabama has food insecurity and child food insecurity data by county. This is the 2016 map the meal gap data, which uses 2014 US Census data. Check out the link to see where your county ranks!

For whole-household food insecurity
US Rate: 15.4%
Alabama Rate: 18.8%
Highest % County: Wilcox county at 33.0%
Lowest % County: Shelby county at 10.5%

For child-specific food insecurity (rates are much higher!)
US Rate: 20.9%
Alabama Rate: 26.4%
Highest % County: Wilcox county at 36.8%
Lowest % County: Shelby county at 18.4%

In Cullman County, First United Methodist Church of Cullman has partnered with other local churches to form community “Halos of Help”. “In our county, we have 8 different high school districts”, states Melissa Betts, Director of Children & Serve Ministries. “Our church started a backpack feeding program, Knapsacks for Kids, after the April 2011 storms. Since that time, we have become aware of how large a problem food insecurity is in Cullman County."  Statistics provided by www.alabamapossible.org state there are 4,783 children in Cullman County who experience food insecurity at some point throughout the month. In response to this staggering number, our Knapsack for Kids volunteers have pulled together, and connected other churches and civic groups to begin serving in their local district. We call these helping rings, “Halos of Help”.

In 2015, there was very little organized assistance for those who were food insecure. But today, all eight districts/halos have established teams ready to serve:

  • City of Cullman- Cullman FUMC & Alabama Credit Union
  • Cold Springs- Alabama Credit Union
  • Fairview- Fairview FUMC, Baileyton UMC & Alabama Credit Union
  • Good Hope- Good Hope Baptist Church & Day Star Church

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