food insecurity

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. 

Glynis Board | WV Public Broadcasting

The Biden administration announced Monday the expansion of a nutrition program, born amid the start of the pandemic, that could provide more food to nearly 2 million children throughout Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia this summer. 

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, or P-EBT, program started last March to provide money to low-income families whose children were missing meals normally received at school, programs that were disrupted by the pandemic. Funds are loaded onto a card for individual families to purchase food for their children. The program is now being expanded through the summer, providing food dollars for families alongside the existing food distribution programs run by districts.

Glynis Board I Ohio Valley ReSource

The federal program known as the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is resuming, and has been extended by the American Rescue Plan Act recently signed into law by President Joe Biden. 

Multiple state organizations report that the extension will significantly help Kentucky families and communities by providing extra nutrition assistance. The help comes at a time when one in four Kentucky children are suffering from food insecurity. 

Some families have already received their P-EBT payments, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Distribution of those payments began on March 15, and will continue through June 25 to cover back payments. The payments will also cover October 2020 through the end of the current school year. 


Liam Niemayer

He asked her if she was cold. A wind whips around the park in western Kentucky a couple days before Christmas. He puts his arm around her as they move closer together on the bench.

Blake Livesay, 27, met Laura Brooke, 31, online earlier in 2020, and they’ve been inseparable since. She liked his way with words, “like a walking, talking Hallmark card.” He fell in love with her two kids from a past relationship. 

With the hardships they’ve been through this pandemic, the couple said they at least have each other. But their struggles have been crushing for them.

  

Stacey Oakley/Hope 2 All

The year 2020 has dropped two major challenges on the residents of Muhlenberg County.

First, a major plant shut down, followed by COVID-19. That one-two punch has dramatically increased food insecurity in the county.

During the pandemic, Hope 2 All food pantry has given out boxes of food to about 4,000 families a month at its Muhlenberg County site in Drakesboro.  

A year ago, about 1,000 families a month came to that location pick up  food.

Brad Payne has been director of the Hope 2 All community pantries for 10 years.


facebook/Teresa's Restaurant

As COVID-19 surges across Kentucky, new statewide restrictions prohibiting indoor dining for bars and restaurants go into effect Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. and last through Dec. 13.

One local business impacted by the new restrictions is Teresa's Restaurant, a Bowling Green eatery known for home cooking.

The restrictions during the pandemic have caused financial strain for the popular restaurant and the newest rule that prohibits indoor dining is the last straw, at least until Dec. 13. 

Owner Heather McGuffey said the restaurant has no outdoor dining and a previous attempt at take-out meals during an earlier restriction on indoor dining didn't work out.  So she decided to close Teresa’s when the latest rules go into effect.

Devine Carama

This fall, Lexington, Kentucky, activist and artist Devine Carama launched a different kind of road trip across his home state. He visited a dozen cities and towns, from Pikeville, in the state’s Appalachian east, to Paducah, near where the Ohio River joins the Mississippi. He carried a sign that said “I’ll walk 400 miles if you promise to vote.”

He wants to bring attention to what he says is the most important election of our lifetimes and to open up conversations about why people do or don’t vote. 

 

“That was another kind of, you know, motivational piece to this,” he said. “How can we inspire people to not just register, but actually go out and vote?”

 

 


Aaron Payne | Ohio Valley ReSource

A new study shows the Ohio Valley has some of the nation’s highest rates of food insecurity among older adults, and anti-hunger advocates say that situation could be made worse by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual study was published May 21 in partnership with researchers from the University of Kentucky, researchers from University of Illinois, and the nonprofit food bank organization Feeding America. The researchers used Census Bureau survey data from 2018 which asked households with adults aged 50-59 a series of questions to determine whether they were food insecure.

Rhonda J. Miller

As residents of Kentucky and the rest of the nation are advised to stay home as much as possible to avoid the spread of coronavirus, the Bowling Green Housing Authority's "Mobile Grocery" is making that easier, especially for low-income, homebound and elderly residents.

The bus offers food, household items, and a sense of community.

The cheerful white bus painted with pictures of apples, eggs and milk recently rolled to a stop in front of a Warren County mobile home with an American flag.

Nancy Hendricks, 80, is waiting in her driveway with her green cloth bag with the Mobile Grocery logo. Bus driver Danny Carothers fills her shopping list.

“So I’ve got your crackers, your two paper towels, your water and your two percent milk,” said Carothers, as he totals her bill for today: $6.65. 


Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley ReSource

There’s a picture frame on the wall next to the customer service desk in the IGA in Inez, Kentucky. Inside the frame is a scrap of beige meat-counter paper, on which a man named Derle Ousley sketched the layout for an ad announcing the opening of his very first grocery store.

“Inez Supermarket Grand Opening,” it reads. The date: September 28, 1959.

A Mississippian by birth, Ousley moved to Martin County after he served in the Korean War and noticed that Inez, the county seat, had no grocery store. So he opened one.


Glynis Board I Ohio Valley ReSource

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates almost 700,000 people across the country will lose food stamps in a new Trump Administration rule announced Wednesday. Regional anti-hunger advocates and policy analysts say the Ohio Valley — and Appalachia in particular — could be disproportionately affected by this rule.

In general, the rule will make it harder for states to waive requirements that low-income able-bodied adults without dependents work (or participate in a work program) for at least 20 hours or lose their food stamps. USDA officials said the rule is to encourage SNAP recipients to find employment.

“We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand but not allowing it to become an infinitely giving hand,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a conference call Wednesday. “What’s happening is that states are seeking waivers for wide swaths of their populations, and millions of people who could work are continuing to receive SNAP benefits.”

Kentucky Center for Economic Policy

A new report says the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) improves health and reduces costs across Kentucky.

The report from the left-leaning Kentucky Center for Economic Policy shows more than 500,000 Kentuckians get help buying groceries through SNAP.

Kentucky has the eighth-highest rate of food insecurity in the nation. KCEP says a growing body of research connects food insecurity to a higher rate of diabetes, chronic illnesses, and other negative health outcomes. 


USDA

A report released Thursday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds nearly 323,000 children are obese in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio. Obesity rates among the region’s children remain some of the highest in the nation.

West Virginia has the nation’s second-highest rate of obese children, Kentucky third, and Ohio tenth.

Mississippi has the highest rates of children with obesity, 24.5 percent. Utah has the lowest rate at 8.7 percent. The national average is 15.3 percent.


USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week a proposal to tighten the rules on who qualifies for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). USDA estimates more than three million people across the country would lose SNAP benefits in an effort to prevent fraud. Anti-hunger advocates in the Ohio Valley say the more than two million people in the region who use the benefits would be impacted.

The department wants to change what they call “broad-based categorical eligibility” in the SNAP program. The regulation allows people that don’t have a low enough income to qualify for food stamps to get them in other ways. For example, people can also qualify if they receive assistance from other federal programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families


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