Today, very close to us, someone is hungry — a child, a senior citizen, a single parent, a worker juggling two jobs to make ends meet.
Today, very close to us, someone is working to feed our hungry neighbors — at a pantry in a church basement, a senior center, a mission, a shelter or a school filling backpacks for kids to take home for the weekend. Maybe they do this for a paycheck, but more likely, they volunteer because they care enough to give time to make sure those in need have enough to eat.
These are not people from “someplace else.” People in our communities — who are both giving and receiving—are our neighbors. It may even be you, or someone you know.
Obtaining, transporting, organizing and distributing millions of pounds of food for no charge to those who need most is hard work. But that’s what it takes to meet the growing need.
Right now in Central and Eastern Kentucky, more than 330,000 people are living in poverty, possibly wondering where they will get their next meal. More than 275 local agencies are working hard to help — dozens of them right here in Southeast Kentucky. Last year, by working together, more than 211,000 people in God’s Pantry Food Bank’s 50-county service area received help from one of these agencies. In total, the Food Bank distributed more than 22.9 million pounds of food last year through its network.
God’s Pantry Food Bank is a resource that helps these community organizations get the food they need to share with others. A regional distribution network of free, donated or low cost food to fight hunger in our community, the Food Bank works with local agencies to provide the food they need to feed hungry kids, seniors and families.
Providing food to people in need is something God’s Pantry Food Bank has been doing for 57 years. Its fleet of 12 trucks moves food from its Lexington and Winchester warehouses to drop sites throughout the area and a regional distribution center in Prestonsburg. Agency staff and volunteers can also travel to Lexington, Winchester or Prestonsburg to pick up food, but that is cost and time consuming for organizations that run on shoestring budgets.
God’s Pantry Food Bank is committed to making it easier for these local agencies to operate. That is why it has announced plans to add a regional distribution center in Southeast Kentucky. This will enable agencies in surrounding communities to have easier access to quality food including meat, fresh produce, dairy products and daily staples on a regular basis. Long distance trips to pick up food will become far less frequent. Agencies will have more food available, much closer to their hometown, to share with the hungry people who depend on their services.
I am pleased to be part of the effort that is making this new regional distribution center possible in our area. We need the community to help support this facility and the work of the Food Bank. To find out how, visit godspantry.org/cometothetable or call 859-255-6592. Working together, we can help our hungry neighbors even more than we’ve been able to in the past and make our communities more caring, healthier places to live.
Jane Winkler Dyche,