hunger

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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.