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ISSUE: The battle to end hunger
OUR VIEW: Feeding America can be proud
Before Christmas trees are taken down and the season of giving becomes a memory, please consider a recent milestone celebrated by one of Hardin County’s most generous organizations.
Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland marked its 30th anniversary earlier this month. The idea of two caring local women, Rita Jenkins and Dot Hansen, it has grown from a pickup truck periodic effort to the daily achievements of a regional operation affiliated with a nationally respected network of food banks.
This nonprofit has an extraordinary record of service and has become vital to the health of more and 125,000 Kentuckians.
It’s objective is simple and noble: Feed the hungry. It accomplishes the goal by distributing quality products that might otherwise go to waste.
Feeding America serves as a clearinghouse for collecting and distributing food and grocery products. The food bank solicits and receives new and commercially excess food from manufacturers, distributors, warehouse and storage operations, even grocery chains. Then it coordinates, packages and distributes food to the needy.
It’s a logistical gem that supports 225 member agencies in 42 counties stretching from central to far western Kentucky. It provides goods for non-profit feeding programs such as emergency food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, meal programs for seniors and youth including the well-known and well-respected backpack program that provides weekend supplies for 5,200 children.
From two warehouses in Elizabethtown, Feeding America’s volunteers and staff members receive, package and distribute more than 1 million pounds of food each month. Again, that’s a monthly figure — not an annual total.
As part of a national network, the local efforts also are enhanced by major acquisitions of overstocked products that are fully edible but may be approaching a shelf-life expiration date. When a giant producer makes a marketing error, mislabels products or perhaps simply overestimates demand, Feeding America can acquire and make use of the unsold supply.
In addition, the food bank also distributes commodities provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
And as in this season of giving, there’s room for your heart here.
Local farmers have demonstrated support by providing fresh produce through its Farm to Food Bank initiative started in 2010. The nonprofit also accepts private donations from food drives and, of course, cash contributions.
It also can use your hands because despite hundreds of dedicated volunteers, there always seems to be another box to pack, another truck to load or another backpack to fill.
If you’re interested, send an email to info@feeding
americaky.org or call (270) 769-6997 or toll-free at (877) 532-2767.
After 30 years of struggle and sweat, Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland is a true success story. It has grown from an idea in the hearts of two loving women to three-decade distribution totals of 150 million pounds of food with an estimated retail value of $240 million.
It’s great to see dozens of ways our community rallies to support the less fortunate during the Christmas season. But hunger occurs year round. The warm feeling associated with giving can as well.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.