Agriculture, Food, Nutrition

Feeding the Gulf Coast

aka Bay Area Food Bank

Theodore, AL


As a member of Feeding America, and a United Way Member Agency, Feeding the Gulf Coast works through member organizations and special programs to provide nutritious food to meet the challenge of feeding people who are hungry as a result of systemic poverty, personal crisis or disaster. Feeding the Gulf Coast also educates the public regarding domestic hunger, proper nutrition and other related issues.

Ruling Year


President & CEO

Cathy Pope

Main Address

5248 Mobile South St

Theodore, AL 36582 USA


food, food bank, hunger, needy, mobile pantry, hurricane katrina, child nutrition, disaster relief, Summer Lunch Program, After School Snack, Dave Reaney, Hurricane Relief, Serving the Central Gulf Coast, BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, charity, non-profit





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Food Banks, Food Pantries (K31)

Nutrition Programs (K40)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Hunger affects 1 in 7 people in the United States and Puerto Rico. Along the Central Gulf Coast of Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, 1 in 5 people face hunger throughout the year, including 1 in 4 children. By partnering with community organizations to provide meals, emergency food, nutrition education, and benefits enrollment assistance to families facing hardship, we can reduce food insecurity in our community. Together, we can solve the problem of local hunger.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Retail Store Level Pickup Program

Mobile Pantry Program

Agency Food Distribution

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Summer Food Service Program

Afterschool Snack Program

Backpack Program

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Total pounds of food rescued

Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Retail Store Level Pickup Program

Number of meals served or provided

Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Context notes

This represents all of our food distribution efforts as pounds divided by 1.2, the standard USDA meal conversion factor, to show the number of meals provided.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

2018 External Goals

1. Reduce food insecurity by providing 17,500,000 meals, distributing at least 21 million pounds of food. Continue using SNAP assistance hotline and benefit enrollment center to complete applications over the phone to meet the needs of clients throughout AL and MS, and target seniors throughout AL and MS to expand the benefits we offer to low-income seniors. Continue to relieve food insecurity by freeing up resources seniors have previously used on other needs. Support CSFP efforts in AL.

2. Continue to reduce transportation expenses by efficiently utilizing newer trucks in our fleet, seek funding opportunities to replace aged trucks, maintain a consistent preventative maintenance program, and seek further efficiency in routing. Establish an additional distribution center in Panama City, FL. Complete renovations in the Gulfport, MS office to have warehouse space and be able to store product. Both expansions will help with routing of deliveries and store level pickup. The goal is to have a 5% reduction in transportation expenses.

3. Identify high need areas for Afterschool Meal expansion. Distribute 800,000 snacks, 90,000 suppers, and 2,500 breakfast meals during the school year. Continue to grow the backpack program in all three states.

4. Continue to partner with the Department of Agriculture, farmers and community organizations to expand gleaning opportunities, build relationships with farmers and other sources of produce, and increase nutrition related outreach and awareness events.

5. Continue to partner with health professionals to expand education classes related to nutrition and cooking for adults and children as part of an overall focus on hunger and nutrition's impact on health and learning as well as develop and distribute healthy food boxes to clients.

6. Continue to expand brand awareness and fundraising activities to ensure continued transition to our new name, Feeding the Gulf Coast, and ensure strong community engagement to support facility expansions and utilizations, core operations, and special programs.

7. Continue to utilize advisory committees, board members, and community leaders in each state. Expand board involvement to increase awareness of our mission through fundraising events to help build long-term financial stability.

8. Through the MPIN committee, focus on transitioning our red counties to green to ensure we are meeting the need throughout our service area. Have 22 of our 24 counties green by the end of 2018. Plan County Commission and/or Town Hall meetings in each county to create awareness and generate funding opportunities to support mobile pantries and produce drops. Continue to improve food quality and standardization of our mobile pantries. Work with the Food Sourcing Committee to establish non traditional sources of food.

9. Establish a strong relationship with Bank on South Alabama to educate our clients regarding financial stability.

Distributing food across 24 counties along the Central Gulf Coast requires efficient logistics and a reliable transportation fleet. Feeding the Gulf Coast is always reevaluating routes and methods to cut down on transportation costs, while increasing the pounds delivered to each community. By combining SNAP Outreach with food distribution events, the food bank can achieve two goals with one transportation route: provide emergency food access and help individuals secure assistance through SNAP.

To further reduce costs and maximize consumption of valuable food, Feeding the Gulf Coast is encouraging agency partners to pick up food donations directly from nearby grocery stores for direct distribution to clients, while saving the food bank the expense of picking up retail store donations and moving the product through its warehouses in Milton, FL or Theodore, AL.

The food bank's strategy to expand and strengthen child nutrition programs is two-fold: build relationships at the community level and advocate for policy changes at the federal level. Three full-time child nutrition coordinators have been hired to operate in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, developing partners in rural areas to host Summer Food Service and Afterschool Snack sites. At the federal level, the food bank is advocating policy changes that will streamline the reporting for each federal program, eliminating redundancies and reducing expenses.

Feeding the Gulf Coast has developed a Community Education Committee, comprised of staff, board members, and health professionals in the community. The committee offers a diverse perspective on how to engage different communities through cooking and nutrition classes and community gardens. The food bank has also partnered with Alabama 4-H to help schools start gardens and offer Junior Master Gardener curriculum.

Feeding the Gulf Coast has two warehouses, which, combined, can hold 3 million pounds of food at a time. Cold storage areas can hold up to 20 tractor trailer loads and the freezers can hold 15 tractor trailer loads. The main warehouse, in Theodore, AL has an emergency generator to protect food from spoiling during power outages. The panhandle warehouse, in Milton, FL is installing an emergency generator in spring 2018 to provide similar protection during power outages. A fleet of 11 refrigerated trucks picks up and distributes food across the 24-county service area.

In January 2016, the food bank acquired a third facility in Gulfport, MS, which will provide space for offices, a training/conference room and dry good storage. This new space will allow us to expand our programs in Mississippi.

Feeding the Gulf Coast has 61 full-time employees and 12 part-time employees. The organization could not distribute 23 million pounds of food annually without the support of volunteers. In 2017, over 15,400 volunteers contributed over 232,000 service hours to the food bank.

Feeding the Gulf Coast has earned a reputation both on local and national levels and has been able to make its programs sustainable by program branding and increasing awareness of hunger in our community. Experience has shown that once adopted, finding local support for continuing programs among businesses and the faith-based community is available.

Feeding the Gulf Coast also has a board approved Development Committee, which guides our fundraising efforts and has helped implement several giving programs. The food bank has a monthly giving program called “Bridging The Gap." The food bank has also implemented a lifetime donor recognition program. Participants of both programs receive special recognition in newsletters, the annual report and a wall mural. The food bank also has a planned giving program with local financial advisors providing materials to donors sharing the economic benefits of planned gifts as part of their estate planning. The food bank manages a robust direct mail campaign program with over 10,000 active donors.

As a member of Feeding America, we strive to meet a benchmark of 35 meals per person in need in each county served. This benchmark is based on data from the Feeding America 2014 Hunger In America Study, which determined the number of people in need in our service area. 17% of the households are considered food insecure, which is more than 360,000 people. By distributing a minimum of 35 meals per person in each county, we are closing the meal gap.

Beyond food distribution, the food bank strives to conduct educational programs on nutrition, gardening and SNAP. The food bank tracks progress of these programs by the number of people reached and the number of counties in which the programs have become sustainable.

Since establishment in 1981, Feeding the Gulf Coast has distributed over 240 million pounds of food and has met the needs of communities during times of disaster.

The Retail Store Level Pickup Program gives the food bank and its agencies access to fresh foods such as produce, dairy, meat and bread. The program, created on the national level by Feeding America, partners retail grocery chains with local food banks. In 2017, 181 stores along the Central Gulf Coast donated more than 12.6 million pounds of food to the food bank through this program.

Our SNAP Outreach Program began in 2010 with the signing of a contract to conduct SNAP Outreach on behalf of the Alabama Department of Human Resources throughout Alabama. In 2014, the food bank expanded SNAP Outreach work into Mississippi by contracting with the Mississippi Department of Human Services. Both state programs cover 50% of the expenses needed to perform outreach. In 2017, the SNAP Outreach team helped families gain access to nearly $20 million in SNAP benefits.

Since the first child nutrition program began in 2003, these programs have continued to expand and now include over 260 Afterschool Snack and Summer Food Service Program sites which support over 21,000 children. The food bank also supports approximately 2,400 children through a school-based Backpack Program providing at risk children with food for the weekend.

Feeding the Gulf Coast partners with Share Our Strength to offer Cooking Matters--a groundbreaking education nutrition program that connects families with food by teaching them how to prepare healthy, tasty, low-cost meals. In 2017, the food bank conducted 39 nutrition classes with 755 participants.

Feeding the Gulf Coast has been successful in implementing programs and meeting food distribution goals in urban parts of the service area; however, rural communities present a different challenge. Population density in rural communities is lower and more spread out, creating the challenge of finding a central location from which to distribute food and conduct programs. Serving these counties is also more expensive, requiring more staff time and more miles on delivery trucks, while also facing limited funding opportunities due to the limited presence of businesses and foundations in rural areas.

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

Feeding America



Feeding the Gulf Coast

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
Board of Directors Policy #2 Pluralism and Diversity Purpose To articulate the principles, actions and beliefs of Feeding the Gulf Coast with regard to the pluralism and diversity of the Board of Directors and the staff. Discussion The Board of Directors of Feeding the Gulf Coast believes it is important to have members and staff who represent a broad spectrum of cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. The Board realizes that having members from diverse backgrounds enriches the organization and helps us ensure we are sensitive to all portions of the population in the execution of our role in providing hunger relief to the community. The Board will strive to maintain pluralism and diversity in selection of board of directors as well as staff. Policy • When choosing board members, the Feeding the Gulf Coast Board of Directors will not discriminate based on: race/ethnicity, color, disability, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, marital status or socio-economic status. • When appointing nominating committees, the Board President will brief committee members on the need to ensure nomination of new Board members is guided by the principle of providing membership that brings the required mix of business, social service, government and community awareness experience to the Board while drawing from the community in a manner that encourages diverse representation. • The Board will consider the need to maintain a diverse work force in reviewing the performance of the President & CEO and in Board related hiring activities.