FRANKFORT, Ky. — Governor Andy Beshear, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles, and other state leaders spent the morning at the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday rallying Kentuckians to join the fight against hunger.
According to the Map the Meal Gap report, one in seven Kentuckians is food-insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to enough food for a healthy, active lifestyle.
To raise awareness of the prevalence of hunger in Kentucky and to encourage Kentuckians to support hunger relief, Governor Beshear signed a proclamation of January as Hunger-Free Month in Kentucky.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the launch of the 2020 Kentucky Legal Food Frenzy, a competition among law firms and legal offices to raise resources for hunger relief. A collaborative effort among the Office of the Attorney General and the Kentucky Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the campaign has raised the equivalent of over 1 million meals in the past three years.
“Kentucky Legal Food Frenzy’s annual campaign offers attorneys across the Commonwealth an opportunity to meet the needs of Kentuckians who face food insecurity,” said Attorney General Cameron. “I am proud to partner with Feeding Kentucky and the Kentucky Bar Association Young Lawyers Division on this important initiative, and I am confident we can meet our goal to raise the equivalent of 600,000 pounds of food. We must all work together to end hunger in the Commonwealth, and I encourage law firms and legal offices throughout Kentucky to start a team in your community.”
At the rally, Commissioner Quarles gave an update of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Hunger Initiative and urged all Kentuckians to help fight hunger by donating via their state income tax return.
“It is an unfortunate reality that 1 in 7 Kentuckians is food insecure,” said Commissioner Quarles. “That’s why the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has led an effort to reduce hunger during the last four years through our Kentucky Hunger Initiative. To that end, the Department is
encouraging Kentuckians to check the box on their tax refund to donate part of their refund to the
Farm to Food Banks Trust fund, which steers Kentucky Proud fruits and vegetables to the Commonwealth’s hungry.”
Every Kentucky taxpayer who receives an income tax refund may check box 38e on their tax return to designate part of the refund to go to the Kentucky Farms to Food Banks trust fund. Administered by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the fund provides grants to nonprofits for the distribution of Kentucky-grown surplus agricultural commodities to low-income individuals. State income taxpayers have donated $150,000.00 to the fund since 2014.
The trust fund is also supported by an appropriation of $500,000/year in the state budget. Commissioner Quarles asked legislators to continue supporting the program, which benefits Kentucky farmers and food banks.
“Strong bi-partisan support for hunger relief among Kentucky’s elected officials is something we are incredibly grateful for,” said Tamara Sandberg, Executive Director of Feeding Kentucky. “Food banks in Kentucky are struggling to keep pace with the demand for food assistance, so the leadership we’re seeing from Frankfort is much needed and much appreciated. Together, we can solve hunger in Kentucky.”
The rally was hosted by Feeding Kentucky as part of its Hunger Free Kentucky Day presented by Kroger. One hundred anti-hunger advocates from across the state met with legislators to discuss hunger in their districts and solutions to it.
“We are honored to partner with Feeding Kentucky and our local food banks to end hunger in our community. Food insecurity is too big an issue to be tackled alone, and we believe we must all join forces to make meaningful change,” said Erin Grant, Corporate Affairs Manager for Kroger. “In late 2017, Kroger launched our Zero Hunger| Zero Waste initiative. The goal, to end hunger in the communities we serve by 2025. We will not stop until we reach that goal,” said Grant.
More information is available at FeedingKY.org.
— Feeding Kentucky
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