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Food Insecurity Affects One-in-Six Kentuckians

Kentucky Association of Food Banks

A new study on food insecurity found that 700,000 people in Kentucky - that’s one-in-six - are not sure where their next meal is coming from. The study by Feeding America called ‘Map the Meal Gap 2017’ shows that many Kentucky counties have a rate of food insecurity higher than the national average of 14 percent.

Barren, Hardin and Ohio counties are at 15 percent. Warren County is at 16 percent.

Tamara Sandberg is executive director of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks. She says Feeding America saw the need in Warren County long before this latest study, and last July began distributing truckloads of food once a month at Lampkin Park. 

“They’re huge trucks. They’re about 40-feet long and they distribute about 20 pallets of food.”

Sandberg says the Warren County distribution is an important example of improving the network by adding sites that are accessible to families that are food insecure.

The percentage of Kentucky residents who are food insecure dipped slightly, from 17 percent last year to 16 percent this year. Some counties have a lower rate of food insecurity than the state average, including Daviess, McLean and Edmonson counties, which have a rate of 14 percent.

Sandberg says a new law passed by the 2017 General Assembly gives companies more immunity when they donate food.

“We heard from retailers, particularly Houchens Industries in south central Kentucky, that said they were throwing away millions of dollars worth of food because they were worried about the liability if somebody got sick from the food that they donated just because it was slightly past date.”

Sandberg says the new law and better distribution, especially to rural communities, are important steps in getting more food to hungry families in Kentucky.   

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