A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

God’s Pantry Food Bank coordinates COVID-19 response to reduce hunger in Central, Eastern Ky.

God’s Pantry Food Bank is rapidly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by safely providing food to families through a network of 400 food pantry and meal programs.

Last week, the Food Bank saw a 35 percent increase for food assistance across our 50 county service area. In Fayette county needs increased 50 percent in the past 8 days. God’s Pantry Food Bank is committed to providing the critical services required to help feed those who face food insecurity, including many who are now at risk of hunger for the first time.

The Food Bank expects that needs will continue to increase. We have and will adapt our food acquisition and distribution methods to ensure a safe food supply while focusing on healthy interaction will every individual. Social distancing protocols are in place for recipients, volunteers, and staff.

Food rescue and donation procedures have been modified. New volunteer sources have been identified. Additional quantities of product have been purchased to complement typical sources, such as grocery store donations and government commodities. Our goal is to obtain and rapidly distribute adequate inventories to ensure those who need food can get food.

Some examples of efforts already underway:

• Packed the first 4,500 food boxes of a planned 10,000 in partnership with the City of Lexington

• Delivered 25 truckloads of food and groceries to locations throughout a 50-county service area

• Ordered 10 truckloads of food above and beyond typical levels to accommodate growing need

• Received commitments of $125,000, including $40,000 from the Blue Grass Community Foundation and the United Way of the Bluegrass to help fund initial response efforts

• Deployed staff members to cover some distribution points previously managed by volunteers

• Recruited more volunteers to help with pantry distribution and food rescue efforts in Fayette and contiguous counties

• Expanded appointment availability and increased hours of operation at pantries

• Continued BackPack distribution and supported School Pantry sites that remain open

Our response efforts have just begun. The work before God’s Pantry Food Bank, the nonprofit partners we support, and families we serve is daunting. We are fully committed to do that work. The Food Bank estimates our initial response to COVID-19 will require $750,000 in funds to provide three to four weeks of the additional food assistance needed by those who are facing hunger during this critical time. To donate or to learn more about God’s Pantry Food Bank please go to our web site at www.godspantryfoodbank.org.

If you need help:

In Fayette County call 859-259-2308 to set up a pantry appointment to pick a supply of food. Outside of Fayette County, visit godspantry.org/help to find the pantry closest to you.

If you can help:

If you are able to make a financial gift to address this increase in demand, you may make a donation online at godspantry.org/donate. Checks may be mailed to 1685 Jaggie Fox Way, Lexington, KY, 40511.

If you would like to add your name to our COVID-19 volunteer pool in Fayette County, please email volunteerservices@godspantry.org. The Food Bank will reach out to COVID-19 volunteers as specific opportunities arise.

From God’s Pantry Food Bank

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