PIKEVILLE — Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles led a meeting of advocates for the hungry and local leaders to learn what is being done at the local level to combat food insecurity in the Pikeville area at the University of Pikeville on Wednesday.
“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.”
Pike County is one of 50 Kentucky counties served by God’s Pantry Food Bank of Lexington. Representatives of God’s Pantry reported that their organization works with more than 400 partner agencies and programs (nearly two-thirds of which are faith based) to serve more than 200,000 people each year. God’s Pantry distributed nearly 3 million pounds of food in the Pikeville area in the 2016 fiscal year.
Map the Meal Gap, an annual study by Feeding America, found that 17 percent of the population of Kentucky – or 1 out of every 6 Kentuckians – is food insecure.
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.
Wednesday’s meeting was the last of 10 regional meetings held throughout the Commonwealth to hear from volunteers fighting hunger locally. The task force will meet later this year to review information gathered at the regional meetings and create a strategic plan to address hunger in Kentucky.
For more information about the Hunger Initiative and the Hunger Task Force, visit kyagr.com/hunger.