Feeding America conducting hunger study

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By Amber Coulter

A local food bank and its agencies are preparing to participate in the largest nationwide study on hunger.


Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland representatives are seeking volunteers to help with interviews for the Hunger in America 2014 study.

The study is conducted by Feeding America’s national organization and a statistical firm to determine:

  • Hunger’s prominence
  • Type of foods needy people eat
  • Areas most affected by hunger
  • Food assistance people need
  • Other information used to meet needs and lobby for money to provide help

The local branch is participating for the third time. The study takes place every four years.

As a participating organization, Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland has agreed to recruit and train volunteers to go to member agencies in the organization’s 42-county service area to conduct interviews with clients based on a random sampling decided by the statistical firm, said Milissa French, director of agency services and programs.

“It’s about the only way to measure the need in this country,” she said.

The report is broken down into national and state data and is used by lawmakers, government agencies and food assistance organizations.

The data are scheduled to be collected from April through August of this year and released next year.

French expects to show a sharp increase in the number of people receiving assistance, with more disturbing numbers than have been seen in a long time.

She also thinks the data will show a more diverse group in need, including working families and senior citizens.

“We’re seeing so many more senior citizens come into our food pantries right now who have never asked for anything in their lives,” she said.

Data for the last study was collected from February through April 2009, before many families suffered from the worldwide economic crisis. Some local agencies continue to see an increase in the number of people seeking assistance, French said.

In the area, counties with little industry tend to need more help than places such as Hardin County, where there are more jobs, French said.

“If it weren’t for our food pantries in those counties, I don’t know what some people would do,” she said. “There’s not much there.”

Volunteers collecting data are scheduled to be trained April 2, so French hopes to compile a list of people willing to help interview the estimated 600 household representatives required for the service area as quickly as possible.

Volunteers must be 18 or older. They aren’t required to go to all interviews or drive anywhere. They’ll go in teams with Feeding America staff members to conduct the interviews, French said.

She said it’s a good opportunity for people to learn about Feeding America’s work and need in the area from the people experiencing it.

“It’s just a good way to learn about what we do and what’s going on in your own communities,” she said.

Amber Coulter can

be reached at (270) 505-1746

or acoulter@thenews


Volunteers can call 769-6997 or visit http://www.feedingamericaky.org/newsroom/168-your-help-is-needed.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.