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KY Taxpayers Can Help Fight Hunger

February 8, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentuckians can donate some of their state income tax refund to the Farms to Food Banks Trust Fund.

State Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles says the fund helps food banks distribute surplus produce to hungry Kentuckians.

"We know it works,” he states. “There's a lot of farmers out there who grow fruits and vegetables and they rely upon this to help get food, that would otherwise rot on the vine, into the hands of those who need it."

The check-off box to donate to hunger relief is on line 33 of the state income tax form.

Last year, Quarles says taxpayers donated more than $30,000 to the Farms to Food Banks Trust Fund.

The Kentucky Association of Food Banks says last year's taxpayer donations helped fill half a plate full of fruits and vegetables for 210,000 meals.

Quarles says that's especially important for children in Kentucky, where nearly one in four doesn’t always know where his or her next meal will come from.

"It affects their school performance,” he points out. “It has an adverse effect on the quality of life and other growth opportunities that they have during those critical years."

In addition to reducing hunger, Quarles says the program helps farmers recoup losses on product they could not sell to grocery stores.

"But, it's perfectly fine to eat,” Quarles stresses. “There might be a minor blemish on the produce that prevents it from going to the grocery store, but it's perfectly healthy."

Last year, 300 Kentucky farmers were paid an average of just over $1,500 for their surplus produce, supplying the state's food bank network with more than 2.5 million pounds of Kentucky-grown fruits and vegetables.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY