FRANKFORT, Ky. — Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles led regional Hunger Initiative meetings in Mayfield Aug. 4 and Owensboro Aug. 9 to learn what is being done at the local level to combat food insecurity.
“These regional meetings will give the Kentucky Hunger Task Force a clearer picture of the need as well as actions being taken locally to meet the need,” Commissioner Quarles said. “With this information, the task force can develop measurable, attainable goals for reducing hunger in Kentucky and a plan of action to achieve those goals.”
At the Mayfield meeting, local hunger advocates learned that the Purchase Area Development District food bank serves 32 food pantries, two soup kitchens, and two shelters in eight western Kentucky counties. The PADD distributed more than 2.3 million pounds of food to 21,738 individuals who participated in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, the Emergency Food Assistance Program, and Feeding America Partnerships in the 2016 fiscal year.
At the Owensboro meeting, it was reported that 14.5 percent of the population of Daviess County – including 20.3 percent of children – was food insecure in 2014, compared to 17 percent of all Kentuckians, according to Map the Meal Gap, an annual study by Feeding America.
“Food insecure” refers to households that lack access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.
The Hunger Task Force is part of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Hunger Initiative, a first-of-its-kind effort to alleviate food insecurity in Kentucky. The objectives of the Hunger Task Force are to study the sources of hunger, identify the unique issues that affect different regions of the Commonwealth, and take an inventory of resources that can be brought to bear against the hunger problem in Kentucky.
The task force is holding a series of regional meetings throughout the state to hear from volunteers fighting hunger at the local level. The regional meetings will continue in September with meetings in Elizabethtown, Louisville, and Pikeville.
For more information about the Hunger Initiative, Hunger Task Force, and other regional meeting dates, visit kyagr.com/hunger.