A few days ago, I saw what appeared to be a glass-faced cabinet surrounding a pole off JVC Road in Cottondale.  It wasn’t until I came across a post on Facebook that I realized what it was.

Anyone familiar with the plight can tell you that homelessness is an issue in Tuscaloosa.  It’s not quite as known as other issues because it affects more than the few people we see with signs requesting assistance.  There are entire homeless families in our area.

Being homeless doesn’t necessarily mean there is no structure over the individual’s head. Sometimes, it’s the person who visits friend to friend and always “falls asleep” late on the sofa.  Others stay up all night and find themselves taking naps during visits with friends.

But there are those who don’t even have that.

I’ll never forget the cold evening I was doing a toy drive at what was Kmart on Skyland Blvd (near where the above pictured food pantry is located), and a gentleman emerged from behind the store, asking for a few dollars to get something to eat.  He said he was homeless and lived in a tent in the woods behind the store.  Giving him the money to eat helped in two ways.  It gave him an opportunity to eat, but it also provided him the chance to sit in a warm establishment for an hour or so.

I gave him the cash I had and bought him a blanket.  We prayed together, and he went on his way. I’ve thought about him quite a bit over the past few years and wondered what ever came of him.

These food pantries are nice ways of helping those who are having hard times.  When you do the grocery shopping for your own household, grab a few nonperishable extra items which don’t have to be cooked and drop them off in the pantries.  And if you know of any others in or around Tuscaloosa, let us know.

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