Helping those who are hungry
By Ryan Quarles
Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture
FRANKFORT – The holiday season is well under way. Many of you enjoyed a bountiful Thanksgiving feast with your loved ones and will do so again during Christmas and New Year’s Day. But for others, the holidays aren’t so merry. More than 700,000 Kentuckians don’t always know where their next meal will come from, according to the Kentucky Association of Food Banks, a Berea-based organization.
For even one of our friends or neighbors to go hungry is unacceptable, especially in a state with such a rich agricultural heritage. That’s why I launched the Kentucky Hunger Initiative and formed the Hunger Task Force earlier this year. We set out on a series of 10 meetings in every region of the Commonwealth to find out what’s working, what isn’t, and what ideas can be applied throughout the state. In a meeting of the task force before Thanksgiving, we reviewed the findings of the regional meetings and discussed ideas to reduce food insecurity in Kentucky.
In the meantime, thousands of Kentuckians are volunteering at their local soup kitchens, food pantries, and other organizations that serve the hungry. I am grateful to each and every one of you for giving freely of your time and resources, and if you haven’t become involved yet, I encourage you to contact the appropriate agencies in your community and find out how you can help.
Our corporate citizens do an excellent job of helping the hungry, not just around the holidays but throughout the year. Kroger has partnered with Feeding America for nearly 40 years to provide food, money, and service to local organizations that serve low-income people, supplying the equivalent of 276 million meals in 2015 alone. At the Hunger Initiative meeting in Morehead, Jonathan Jackson, store manager of the Morehead Kroger, said his store donated 26,000 pounds of food last year largely by pulling perishable food items before they expired. In this season of giving, I hope you will look for ways to serve the less fortunate in your community. To find out more about the Hunger Initiative, and to get involved, go to kyagr.com/hunger.