Bay Area Food Bank could be cut from 2015 city budget

The Bay Area Food Bank is one of the non-profit agencies in Mobile that’s wondering about its finances for next year, with the announcement of Mobile mayor Sandy Stimpson’s proposed 2015 budget. 

CHANGES FROM LAST YEARbay area food bank

The food bank said, it received $16,000 from the City of Mobile in the budget for 2014. In 2015, food bank officials said they’re not sure if they will get any city money.

Marketing Manager Stephanie Snyder said, “$16,000 is a big deal to us. One dollar can provide five meals, so, if you multiply that by 16,000, that’s quite a bit of meals.”

Snyder said she did receive an e-mail from the city Tuesday.

She told us, “They said, right now, they will fund a program if they find it to be essential, meaning that the city can’t provide the service themselves.”

SUGGESTIONS FOR ASSISTANCE

Snyder said the e-mail also said their need would be passed along to the United Way of Southwest Alabama and the Community Foundation of South Alabama, which are slated to get $1.2 million in the city budget to help non-profit groups like the Bay Area Food Bank. Tuesday, Mayor Sandy Stimpson said the agencies were aware of the city’s plan.

When FOX10 News asked him if his proposal for non-profit groups was going to come as a surprise to the United Way, the mayor, said, “No, they bought into it. They said they would be delighted to do it.”

Wednesday, I went to the offices of the United Way of Southwest Alabama and asked President Alan H. Turner, II if he knew about the mayor’s proposal.

Turner said, “We were just recently contacted about this idea, and we thought it a very innovative idea of not having that partisan look at the funding.”

MORE REQUESTS TO THE UNITED WAY

Mobile city council
File photo

When asked if the United Way can handle all the extra non-profit groups that will need help, Turner said, “Actually, we are trying to work very closely with the city. We’re trying to assist them through this process.”

The United Way will also be helped by the kickoff of this year’s fundraising drive.Turner said they’ll be having a 2014 campaign kickoff on August 28, to announce their goal.

Snyder is worried the United Way won’t be able to help the food bank under the mayor’s plan.

She said, “The thing with United Way is their funding works on a two-year cycle, so we’re already funded from United Way through 2015, so, we cannot ask until 2016.”

In the coming weeks, it will be up to the city council to approve the mayor’s proposed budget. The council will hold a public hearing on the budget September 2 at 5:30 p.m.

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