TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
Times-Tribune Staff Report
God’s Pantry Food Bank opened a new regional distribution center at 1215 East 4th Street in London, and recently held a ribbon cutting to honor the occasion.
God’s Pantry Food Bank has served Kentucky families in need for more than 57 years. It began in Lexington, but has expanded to serve 50 counties of central and eastern Kentucky. According to External Relations Coordinator Rebecca Price, one out of seven people living in the service area, or more than 211,000 individuals, are served by God’s Pantry Food Bank.
“There are nearly 330,000 individuals living in central and eastern Kentucky who struggle every day to meet their basic needs, and still do not have access to enough healthy, life-sustaining food. There are pockets of the Food Bank’s 50 county service area that do not have any emergency food pantries at all, and in some places there are programs that exist but the need is greater than what they are able to provide,” CEO Marian Gunn said in a press release.
In 2012, God’s Pantry Food Bank distributed nearly six million pounds of food in Bell, Clay, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Laurel, Leslie, McCreary, Pulaski, Rockcastle, and Whitley counties, and by 2015 the total is expected to exceed 6.4 million pounds.
The agencies in the area once could only pick up their food inventory by traveling to the Lexington warehouse, or picking up their food twice monthly at designated drop areas in the region. Orders have been limited because of travel restrictions and a lack of on-site storage or refrigeration at the agencies. Often the Food Bank trucks are so full of agency orders that God’s Pantry Food Bank has not been able to include available produce or other things that would be useful to clients.
“This 12,000 square-foot warehouse will receive weekly deliveries from our headquarters in Lexington. This new regional distribution center will be staffed by two part-time employees and will have regular hours of operation for the convenience of our agency partners, serving as the permanent pick-up point for agencies serving the Southeast Kentucky Region,” said Chief Operating Officer John Lancaster. “With ample refrigeration, God’s Pantry Food Bank will be able to get more fresh food, produce and other healthy options closer to the agencies and more convenient for their pick up.”
Member agencies and service counties will have greater access to food. This includes perishable items such as produce.
The funding for this distribution center is made possible largely through a Community Development Block Grant applied for by the City of London from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grant came from the collaboration of the city of London, the Cumberland Valley Area Development District, the Governor’s Department for Local Government and God’s Pantry Food Bank.