FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Hunger Initiative got off to a great start in 2016. We convened the Hunger Task Force, a group of leaders from agriculture, government, business, education, charitable organizations, and the faith community, to apply their unique skills and experiences to take on hunger in Kentucky. We held 10 regional meetings throughout the Commonwealth 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 utilized to combat hunger in Kentucky.
We are continuing our work in the new year. Committees of the task force are meeting, and the full task force will assemble later this winter. We will join our partners at the Kentucky Association of Food Banks (KAFB) Rally to Solve Hunger on Feb. 7 at the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort at 1:00 p.m. I encourage you to join us! Our ultimate goal is to raise awareness of the hunger problem in Kentucky, get the agriculture community more involved, and find ways to reduce hunger that will work in Kentucky’s distinct and diverse regions.
There are many ways that you can help. The easiest way is to check the box on your state income tax return – it’s on Line 33 on Form 740 – to donate part of your tax refund to the Kentucky Farms to Food Banks Trust Fund. You also may donate directly to the trust fund. Contributions to the fund are used to offset farmers’ costs for providing Kentucky-grown fruits and vegetables to food banks. The fund is administered by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
Farmers may donate foods to nonprofit food programs and receive a state tax credit equal to 10 percent of the value of the donated product. When you donate food, you improve your cash flow while helping feed a Kentucky family. Go to kafb.org/take-action/donate-
About 17 percent of Kentuckians – 1 out of every 6 – is food insecure, meaning they are unsure where their next meal will come from at some point during the year, according to Map the Meal Gap, an annual study by Feeding America. That is one too many, but in a state with such an abundance of food and a rich agricultural heritage, that simply is unacceptable. We can do better. I hope you will join me in donating part of your state income tax return to the Farms to Food Banks Trust Fund, and I look forward to continuing the work of the Kentucky Hunger Initiative in 2017.
— Ryan Quarles, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture
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