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Hunger Initiative Launched in KY

Kentucky has launched a new Hunger Initiative in search of ways to alleviate the state's massive food insecurity problem. (KY Dept. of Agriculture)
Kentucky has launched a new Hunger Initiative in search of ways to alleviate the state's massive food insecurity problem. (KY Dept. of Agriculture)
June 3, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. - A Hunger Task Force has been formed in Kentucky to search for ways to combat the problem in the Bluegrass State, where one out of every six residents is food insecure.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles says the Hunger Initiative is a way to bring those who grow, sell and distribute food together to find solutions.

"It's important for us to spend time to better define the causes of hunger," says Quarles. "Hunger has many faces in Kentucky. It affects many different people in different ways."

The Hunger Initiative was launched Thursday at a farm in Shelby County, where more than two-dozen members of the task force met for the first time.

The 2016 Map the Meal Gap study by Feeding America found 17 percent of Kentucky's population is food insecure, that's nearly three-quarters of a million Kentuckians.

Task force member Tamara Sandberg says the coordinated public-private partnership is crucial to addressing the underlying causes of hunger.

"It's a big problem in Kentucky, but it's a problem with a solution," says Sandberg. "We don't believe that we have yet identified the magic bullet. And, we don't think there is one silver bullet. We think there are lots of silver BBs."

Sandberg, executive director for the Kentucky Association of Food Banks, says making sure the sources of food in Kentucky, especially farmers, know they can receive tax credits for donating food is one way to reduce hunger. She says another way is to improve the infrastructure at some of the state's nearly 800 food banks and soup kitchens.

"For example, many of them don't have a refrigerator," she says. "So they are not able to safely store some of the products that we want the low-income families to receive."

Sandberg says we have "more than enough food" to feed every man, woman and child in Kentucky. The challenge is getting it to them.


Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY