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Governor honors Greenville#039;s Ada Lee Williams

On Sunday, Gov. Don Siegelman was in Greenville to heap praises on Ada Lee Williams for her years of devotion to a food program she founded and nurtured from its inception in 1984.

Eighteen years ago, Mrs. Williams began a food bank which has developed into what is currently a 10-county-wide program that has now fed thousands of people.

Williams said the program began with two counties, Butler and Lowndes and that it all started one night when she was working late. She said an insurance salesman came into her office and asked her to come with him to visit a woman who had moved to Alabama to live with her nephew who died just after she moved. The insurance rep told Williams that the woman had no food or money and he wanted to help her.

Williams said she met the woman and saw that she only had a half-gallon of water and asked if she could buy her some food. The woman gladly accepted the offer and received groceries from Williams that day. Williams said it was then that she decided there was a need for some type of program to feed those who are in need.

She said she prayed about the program and knew that she wanted to "start this program out with God and, if we start with God, we'll make it."

Williams went that following week to speak with Gov. George Wallace about starting this type of program and he was able to help her begin the program with state funding. Williams said that, with the help of Gov. Don Siegelman, the program has continued to grow and be a great benefit to the citizens of Alabama. She said that May is the 18-year anniversary of the program and she hopes that it will continue to expand.

She said the food bank is the largest food distribution program in Alabama, sending out 33,000 pounds of food each month. She said that each time the program is up to be voted on by state government, she contacts the governor to ask that the program once again be funded.

Deliveries are made each week and the program was headquartered in Troy but now operates out of Wetumpka. Williams is the program coordinator and has worked to continue this program and help it grow. She said she feels it is "one of the best programs that has ever been. You'll never hear anything bad about it."

"In this many years, the two places it has been is Troy and Wetumpka. With both places, we have given 1/2 million sacks of food," Williams said.

She said Gov. Siegelman is currently discussing expansion of the program and two other counties may be added. Williams said she is extremely grateful to Siegelman and all others involved in the program.

"Everybody has wanted to help," she said. "It has been a wonderful program. We could not have this program without the community action agent in each county who goes in and works with the people in these counties. I certainly thank the governor personally for making sure this program continues and grows. I would also like to say that I appreciate everyone who came out to the gathering for Gov. Siegelman."

She said the program is vital to the people it helps. "The check we give them is all they have," she said.