hunger

Rhonda J. Miller

A health care organization in Henderson, Kentucky is reviving a tradition likely to make many people feel better, not just in theory, but in actual medical terms.

Methodist Health has a nurse practitioner who makes house calls to treat patients in rural communities. 

Dogs don’t usually announce the start of a medical appointment, but barking dogs on the front porch are a typical greeting for Nurse Practitioner Crystal Buchanan when she makes a house call to see Susan Turner in the Henderson County community of Cairo. 

"Susan, how are ya?” Buchanan asks as she opens the front door. 


G.J. Strang/University of Kentucky

Kentucky’s Farms to Food Banks program increased the types of produce purchased from farmers in 2019.

It also began a new project to freeze some items that were sent along to food banks.

Farms to Food Banks buys what’s sometimes called “ugly produce.” It’s healthy, but not perfect enough in appearance to be sold to grocery stores.

The program pays farmers enough to cover the cost of labor, packaging and transportation, and keeps the imperfect produce from going to waste.

Sarah Vaughn, programs coordinator for Feeding Kentucky, said the program bought 22 types of produce in 2018, with that figure increasing to 28 varieties in 2019.


Feeding Kentucky

A new report shows the 2019 Summer Food Service Program served 3.2 million meals to Kentucky children. Those meals were served at schools, in buses converted to mobile cafés, and sometimes at tables set up in someone’s yard.

The 2019 KY Kids Eat Summer Success Report by Feeding Kentucky shows summer meals for children increased by 10 percent over the previous season. 

That expansion of meals served to children has been a trend, with double-digit increases every year during the past five years. 

One reason for the increase is an expansion of mobile feeding programs that bring meals to children in rural areas. 


Teresa's Restaurant/facebook

Two Bowling Green restaurants are opening their doors on Thursday to offer free Thanksgiving meals. 

The message from Teresa’s Restaurant and Lisa’s 5th Street Diner is that “giving” is the heart of Thanksgiving. The two Bowling Green eateries are expecting to serve a combined total of close to 1,000 free meals on Thursday.

Heather McGuffey, owner of Teresa’s Restaurant on Gordon Avenue, said the restaurant served 400 free Thanksgiving meals last year, and they’re thinking bigger this year.

McGuffey said her family and the restaurant crew are preparing enough food for 500 people, and the guest list is "everyone who walks through the door." 


Kentucky Dept. for Aging and Independent Living

Kentucky will hold its first ‘Senior Hunger Summit’ on Oct. 30, in Frankfort. State and local leaders say it’s time to confront hunger and related health issues facing older residents.

Kentucky ranks 50th in the nation in preventable hospitalizations, according to the United Health Foundation’s 2019 Senior Report.

Shannon Gadd, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living, said access to nutritious food on a regular basis is key in preventing hospitalizations and addressing other health problems facing seniors.

“I think people just are unaware of the issues: fixed incomes, higher cost of food, higher cost of medicine, lack of transportation," said Gadd. "One of the things we want to hammer home with the hunger summit is that we have a problem, but also we have solutions.”

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. 


Green River Area Development District

Nearly 100 volunteers will fan out across the Green River area of Kentucky on Oct. 22 to deliver bags of groceries to more than 500 low-income seniors.

The program is called ‘Feed Seniors Now’ and it’s coordinated by the Green River Area Development District, or GRADD.

This is the eighth year of the project. Volunteers pack and deliver bags with canned fruits and vegetables, breakfast items, pasta, tuna, peanut butter and other nonperishable items.

On delivery morning volunteers add a quarter-size ham and hot dogs donated by Kentucky Legend. 

Jennifer Williams is associate director for aging and social services for GRADD. She said last year the program delivered food to 504 seniors, and this year that number is up to 545.


Feeding America has determined that too many people in Barren County, Kentucky are food insecure. A new montly mass distribution is being launched get more food to residents in the Glasgow and Cave City areas.

Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland, which is based in Elizabethtown, already distributes more than 12 million meals each year through food pantries, soup kitchens, and programs for children and seniors in 42 counties.

Even so, not enough food is getting into Barren County. The recent “Map the Meal Gap” report from Feeding America shows that 6,700 adults and 2,100 children in the county do not have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. 


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


Rhonda J. Miller

When school is out in summer, hunger in economically-stressed communities can increase. That’s because students are no longer going to the school cafeteria for the free lunch, and often free breakfast, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ohio County is one of the Kentucky school districts where buses take free meals to children in the rural communities where they live. WKU Public Radio's Rhonda Miller recently tagged along to see first-hand how the mobile summer program is impacting local youth and their families. 


Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health has a model program that tackles two issues of concern to food aid organizations across the nation - hunger and food waste.

The health care organization is part of a collaboration that's bringing frozen meals to some of Kentucky’s homebound senior citizens.

The program recently won the 2019 Rurual Achievement Award from the National Association of Regional Councils.

The program arose from conversations among staff at Owensboro Health, its food service provider, Morrison Healthcare, and those in the Green River Area Development District who work with senior citizens.


Rhonda J. Miller

Many older Americans face an issue that’s often kept behind closed doors: hunger.

A new report called The State of Senior Hunger in America shows that eight percent of Kentucky residents age 60 and older are food insecure. Community organizations in Russellville and Bardstown are among many groups helping older adults get enough healthy food.

At the Russellville Senior Center director Christie Lashley called folks to head to the serving table to pick up a tray with a hot lunch.

“All righty, we have Mr. Martin and we have Miss Barbara, Miss Nancy, go get your food….,” said Lashley.

Servers spooned out a plate of barbequed chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes to Tom Martin. 


Rhonda J. Miller

The director of a Kentucky food bank told members of the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club on May 22  not to assume they know what a hungry person looks like. 

A person who doesn’t have enough to eat might have had a medical emergency or car problem that used up their already tight budget.

Jamie Sizemore is executive director of Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland, a food bank that serves 42 counties. She said there is hunger in communities across Kentucky and it often occurs when there's a family crisis and rent, utilities, car payments and gas to get work work take priority over food.


Green River Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living

Two new reports on hunger among older Americans show Kentucky has the nation’s highest rate of food insecurity for those who are in their 50s, and it’s also a major issue for Kentuckians over 60. In the Green River region alone, more than 300 elders are on a waiting list for a daily hot meal. 

A first-time report by Feeding America, Hunger Among Adults Age 50 to 59 in 2017, shows for that age group Kentucky has the highest rate of food insecurity in the nation at 19 percent, compared to the national rate of 11 percent.

In the complementary report, The State of Senior Hunger in America in 2017, which focuses on  those who are 60 and over, the Bluegrass State has a food insecurity rate of about eight percent, slightly above the national average.  

Rhonda J. Miller

The Map the Meal Gap 2019 report by Feeding America shows that Kentucky has more than 650,000 residents who are food insecure.

A food pantry in Bardstown is helping to close that meal gap for 700 local families who choose their own groceries.               

On a recent Tuesday morning, Bread for Life Community Food Pantry volunteer Don Bresnahan walked with a client along the produce aisle.

“Want some broccoli?” asked Bresnahan.


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