Food bank opening in Africatown through city, county partnership

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The City of Mobile and the Mobile County Commission are partnering to open a food bank and community space in Africatown after a sales transaction from the Meaher family to the city.

According to a press release from the city, the partnership grew out of the city of Mobile’s efforts to find an appropriate location to house a food bank in the Africatown community and Mobile County Commission President Merceria Ludgood’s efforts to find an appropriate home for the recently created Africatown Redevelopment Corporation (ARC).

The food bank will be located at the former Scott Credit Union building at 2201 Paper Mill Road. The owners sold the property to the city for $50,000.

“When Mayor Stimpson contacted the Meaher family regarding the sale and/or donation of this property to the City of Mobile for this project, we could not think of a better way to give back to the community,” the Meaher family wrote in a statement. “We all look forward to watching this endeavor become a reality with a lasting positive impact on the community for years to come.”

As part of the partnership, the building can also be repurposed for other community uses. The ARC was established by the Alabama Legislature earlier this year from a bill by Rep. Adline Clarke and Sen. Vivian Davis Figures and other members of the Mobile County Legislative delegation. The ARC’s goal is to help facilitate and guide the redevelopment of the Africatown community.

“The county will be doing an adaptive repurposing of the building. We are going to reclaim it for the Africatown community and put it back into service,” Commissioner President Merceria Ludgood said in a press release.

The operation of the new food bank will be a partnership between the city of Mobile, Feeding the Gulf Coast, Yorktown Missionary Baptist Church and Africatown Community Development Corporation.

“Africatown has been a food desert for too long, but thanks to the work people like Pastor Christopher Williams of Yorktown Missionary Baptist Church are already doing, this has started to change,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “As a former credit union with existing drive-thru lanes and vaults, the building is almost tailor-made to serve as a food bank. It also has ample space to house the Africatown Redevelopment Corporation as it begins important work in the community.”

The city of Mobile used funds provided through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) to purchase the property and will supply the equipment needed to get the food bank running within the next 90 days.

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