Feeding America Kentucky's Heartland

Feeding Kentucky/Farms to Food Banks

A perfect appearance isn’t everything when it comes to produce. 

The Kentucky Farms to Food Banks program proves that by purchasing what's affectionately called 'ugly produce.'  That's fruits and vegetables with a bruise or imperfect shape that makes it hard to sell to grocery stores that want to display 'perfect' produce. 

But ugly produce can still be fresh and nutritious, and help stock the pantries of families that are food insecure. 

The Farms to Food Banks program is beginning to line up farmers who want to sell extra produce ranging from apples to zuccini this year.

Farms to Food Banks is in excellent financial shape thanks to the generosity that continued through the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Feeding America Kentucky's Heartland

The job losses and months of virtual learning when children didn’t get school meals during the pandemic created a hunger crisis for many Kentucky families.

Now, the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines in the Bluegrass State and the decline in cases of the virus has eased the hunger crisis as some parts of life become closer to normal. 

Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland is continuing its regular food distribution to about 1,000 households at Lampkin Park in Warren County once a month. 

But with many children returning to in-person learning at school, and getting some of their meals there, Feeding America has combined two emergency distributions in Warren County into one monthly location. 

Facebook/Feeding America Kentucky's Heartland

The pandemic has caused thousands of people across Kentucky, and the nation, to lose their jobs and struggle to keep food on the table. 

Emergency food distributions, including two this week, are helping hundreds of Warren County families who are hungry.

Feeding Kentucky has already been bringing food once a month to Lampkin Park in Warren County. But since the pandemic, the food bank has added emergency distributions once a month at two additional parks.

Jamie Sizemore, executive director of the food bank that serves 42 counties, said many people may not realize how many families don’t have enough to eat.

“We’ve never in the history of this food bank, or any food bank within the Feeding America network, have we ever seen the magnitude of food insecurity due to so many issues," said Sizemore. "It’s just overwhelming.”


Feeding America Kentucky's Heartland

Hunger in Kentucky is increasing as COVID-19 precautions have shut down most businesses, while senior citizens and others with underlying medical conditions are staying home.

Emergency distributions are helping to keep food on the table during this difficult time.

Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland has been assessing the 42 counties it serves. Executive Director Jamie Sizemore said the impact of the coronavirus pandemic means families just do not have enough money to pay for housing, utilities and food.

“Our partner agencies are reporting everywhere from a 30-60 percent increase in food assistance," said Sizemore. "And one of the things, obviously, we’re seeing is a lot of people that are first-time users of food banks or food assistance programs.”


With the end-of-year holiday season upon us, charities throughout the listening area are trying to make sure needy children are stocked up with enough food to last through the school break.

The Hardin County-based Feeding America, Kentucky's Heartland provides food-insecure children in 33 counties a backpack full of food that can be taken home from school on Fridays. The group's development director, Tami Delaney, says sponsoring agencies in each county try to make sure the program participants are given enough non-perishable items to help them through the time away from school.

"What (the agencies) actually do is double up during the holiday season, so if they know a child is going to be out, they'll provide two bags of food. So they try to make sure that enough is sent home to cover the holiday time, and our pantries are also available," Delaney told WKU Public Radio.