Initiative to raise funds, awareness for hungry

Published 9:51 am Thursday, October 12, 2017

For many Kentuckians and Clark Countians, hunger is an everyday reality.

According to the Kentucky Association of Food Banks, “More than 700,000 Kentuckians, or 1 in 6, do not always know where their next meal will come from.

“More than 1 in 5 of Kentucky’s children lack consistent access to enough food for a healthy, active lifestyle.

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“Many parents have to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel; in fact, 67 percent of households served in Kentucky report facing this tough decision. And too many of our senior citizens are having to make trade-offs between food and medicine, a decision 69 percent of our clients have faced. And 91 percent of clients purchased inexpensive, unhealthy food as a coping strategy.”

To address the issue of food insecurity in Kentucky, food banks provide resources in the form of food boxes and senior commodities and work closely with shelters and soup kitchens to provide assistance to struggling Kentuckians.

Clark County Community Services is the local God’s Pantry food bank affiliate and provides senior commodities boxes monthly and gives food to low-income families.

However, the power of these agencies to address this issue relies heavily on public support and donations of food or money.

We applaud Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes for her recent announcement of an effort to boost support for these agencies.

This week Grimes announced The Commonwealth of Kentucky Bowl, a friendly competition among Area Development Districts across the state to raise resources for hunger relief. It is a collaborative effort between Grimes’ office, the Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts and the Kentucky Association of Food Banks.

The campaign will run Oct. 16-27 with a goal to raise 400,000 pounds of food or $50,000 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the state legislation that created the Area Development Districts.

“One in five Kentucky children don’t always know where their next meal will come from. We have to do better, we must do better,” Grimes said.

Garnering donations and support for food banks is important year-round, but even more so in the winter months when families face higher utility bills and many students are out of school, where they receive two free meals a day.

If the goal is accomplished, this initiative will have an enormous impact on food banks around the state and allow Kentuckians to proactively ensure our neighbors are not going hungry this winter.

Hunger is a real problem that can be solved with the help and kindness of others.