By John Sepulvado, CNN Radio
UPDATED: 09:12 AM EDT 03.17.11
Opelika, Alabama (CNN) – At the Community Market food bank, two small alcoves — each with three chairs and a desk — are used for interviewing potential clients.
At the desk closest to the front door, Michael Davis sits across from an elderly woman with thick glasses. Dottie Battle is a volunteer at the food bank, and she asks for Davis’ identification. He reaches into a worn Ziploc bag, pulls out his driver’s license and social security card, and hands them to her.
Battle asks for his gas, electric and telephone bills, and Davis also pulls them from the same bag. Then Battle asks Davis if he has applied for food stamps, a requisite for this program. He shakes his head “no.”
“You need the food stamps,” Battle says firmly. “You need them badly. And we will need proof that you went and applied for them before you come back. …You know that, you’ve shopped here before.”
Failure to comply with all the requirements could mean denial from the Community Market program — at a time when Davis says he’s been hungry for about two days.
“It’s not a good feeling,” Davis says. “You have to think about it like fasting, like they did in the Bible, and pray for another blessing. That’s really the only way to get through it.”
After about 10 minutes, Davis is approved for 75 pounds of food from the Community Market this visit. He quickly picks up his documents and begins looking for food on the shelves.
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