hunger

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.


Feeding Kentucky

A new report from Feeding America shows that 187,000 children in Kentucky are at risk of going hungry. 

The report, called Map the Meal Gap 2019, details state and county data on food insecurity, which means that a person may not have consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.

The report shows that food insecurity among children in Kentucky actually decreased slightly from 19 percent in last year’s report to 18 percent in the new report. 


Creative Commons

Kentucky farmers have until April 5 to sign up with the Farms to Food Banks program if they want to sell produce that’s not considered ‘picture perfect’ enough for grocery stores.

The Farms to Food Banks program is increasing its statewide outreach to farmers as planting season gets underway.

Last year, 349 farmers from 64 counties in Kentucky sold surplus portions of their crops, as well as slightly imperfect produce, often called ‘ugly’ produce, to the Farms to Food Banks program.

'Ugly' produce may vary in size, shape or appearance from what grocery stores prefer, but the imperfect produce purchased for the program is equally fresh and nutritious. 


Rhonda J. Miller

Feeding Kentucky, a nonprofit with a mission to alleviate hunger across the Bluegrass State, reports that food insecurity is a reality for one in 10 residents age 60 and older.

Elder refugees  in Kentucky face an ever higher risk of hunger due to language barriers and lack of transportation.

On a recent rainy afternoon in Louisville, refugees--some of them in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s--lined up at outdoor tables filled with fresh leafy green lettuce, bright red bell peppers, cucumbers and mushrooms.

John Gowling, a volunteer for Kentucky Refugee Ministries, began enthusiastically offering mushrooms and other food items to the refugees.


Bowling Green Housing Authority

A new grocery store is coming soon to what the U.S. Department of Agriculture has determined is a Bowling Green ‘food desert,’ where it’s difficult for residents to buy affordable or good quality fresh food. 

It’s one of 12 projects in the nation, and the only one in Kentucky, that’s just been awarded a grant from CSX railroad and The Conservation Fund. It’s not a brick-and-mortar grocery, it’s a renovated school bus.

The freshly painted white bus has bright green letters and pictures of fruits, vegetables and milk. It’s called the Mobile Grocery Store and it’s a project of the Bowling Green Housing Authority. 

Glynis Board

Cyndi Kirkhart has some 26,000 square feet of warehouse space at the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington, West Virginia, where she is executive director. That sounds like a lot of space. But very little of it is cooler space.

“This is the only cooler we have,” Kirkhart said, stepping into a walk-in cooler the size of a large closet filled with half-gallon containers of milk. “This is Kentucky milk, and this is West Virginia.”

She said her operation has been receiving about 8,000 of these containers, about a truck load, every couple of weeks since November. She expects to continue receiving the products from the federal government through March.


Green River Area Development District

A few hundred senior citizens in the Green River region are on a waiting list for home-delivered meals because of tightened state and federal budgets. 

The Green River Area Development District, or GRADD, serves about 1,000 meals a day at senior centers and for in-home deliveries. 

GRADD Associate Director for Aging and Social Services Jennifer Williams said a substantial number of elderly residents who have requested home-delivered meals can’t be served.

Nicole Erwin

Napoleon famously said that an army marches on its stomach; troops must be fed in order to fight. But what happens when that army faces hunger after marching back home?  

Federal statistics show tens of thousands of U.S. military veterans struggle with homelessness, hunger and food insecurity. As the holiday season approaches, a pilot program in the Ohio Valley aims to serve those who served their country.


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. 

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.