Feed those in need in Marion County

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By Gary Miles
Executive Director
Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland

Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland (FAKH) is a non-profit, charitable Food Bank located in Elizabethtown. It is one of the 200 Feeding America affiliated Food Banks across the nation. The main purpose of this column is to familiarize you with FAKH’s mission. We have found that most people outside of our immediate area are not familiar with the very important role and the critical service we provide to those in need throughout the entire region of central, south central and western Kentucky. I also want to commend the organizations in Marion County who are part of our 42 county emergency feeding network for all they do as well as the individuals and businesses who financially support our wonderful mission. 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that more than 100 billion pounds of edible food is thrown away each year, while at the same time, one in six Kentuckians (one in four children and one in five seniors) live in poverty and many, at times, face food-insecurity. Our mission as a regional Feeding America food bank is to procure products that may otherwise be thrown away and distribute them through our non-profit member network or our Mobile Food Pantry Program in order to feed those in need. We also receive and distribute produce through the “Farms to Food Bank Program”, provided by the Kentucky Association of Food Banks, as well as receive and distribute foods through the government’s USDA commodity food programs.
Currently, 212 non-profit, charitable agencies in our 42 Kentucky county service area receive food and grocery items from FAKH and distribute them free to those in need. Additionally, 35 of the 42 counties we serve participate in our BackPack Program. Under this program, an at-risk child is provided a bag of child friendly foods to take home over the weekend when their school’s free breakfast and lunch is not available. Currently, 5,276 students in 222 schools receive a take-home bag of food each Friday afternoon throughout the 35 counties served under the program.
We want to take this opportunity to publicly commend all the local feeding organizations throughout our service area for partnering with us to accomplish our critical mission. Without these cherished partnerships throughout our region, we would not be able to accomplish all the great things that we do.  With all the food we receive and distribute through these partner agencies, there is simply no reason why anyone in our service area should go to bed hungry tonight.
We would also like to express a special appreciation to those of you who support us financially to help bring emergency food into your area. Many of you probably receive our donation request mailings and we certainly appreciate all who have responded with your generous donations. Hopefully, after reading this letter, others who have been unclear about what FAKH’s role is in feeding those in need in your area will have a better understanding and be inspired to support our critical mission throughout central, south central and western Kentucky.
We want to give special recognition to our current partner organizations in Marion County, which include: aids and services of West Marion Elementary, Holy Cross Community Food Pantry, The Caring Place, Marion County Community Action and Communicare – Allen’s View.
For more information concerning FAKH and how you can help please visit our web site at www.feedingamericaky.org, become a fan at our Facebook Page (search Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland), or contact us at 270-735-1407.