Frankfort, Kentucky – Attorney General Jack Conway, Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and several state lawmakers spent the morning at the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday rallying Kentuckians to join the fight against hunger.
According to the USDA, one in six Kentuckians is food-insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to enough food for a healthy, active lifestyle.
General Conway kicked off the rally by encouraging all Kentuckians to work to solve hunger. “All of us have a role to play in solving hunger in Kentucky – government, charities, business, and individuals,” Attorney General Conway said. “My office is pleased to be doing its part by sponsoring the March Against Hunger campaign, a fundraising event involving private law firms that helps feed hungry children and families in our communities. Each year, the donations received through March Against Hunger help ease the uncertainty for struggling families and make a difference in the fight against hunger in Kentucky.”
Commissioner Comer encouraged Kentucky taxpayers to “check the box” for hunger relief. 2015 marks the second year that Kentucky state income taxpayers can donate a portion of their refund to the 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.
“In a state with abundant natural resources, a strong agriculture industry, and a rich food history, no one should go to bed hungry,” Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said. “The Farms to Food Banks Trust Fund provides vital resources to nonprofits that help Kentuckians in unfortunate circumstances gain access to fresh, nutritious, local foods while at the same time providing Kentucky farmers a new source of income. I hope all Kentuckians will join me in donating a portion of your state tax refund to the Farms to Food Banks Trust Fund.”
The Kentucky Association of Food Banks’ Farms to Food Banks program helps farmers recoup losses for product that would not otherwise be sold because of cosmetic imperfections or overproduction. The produce is distributed to hungry Kentuckians throughout the state through the food bank network. It is fresh, healthy food that would otherwise go to waste.
In 2014, 373 Kentucky farmers from 66 counties were paid an average of $1,450 for the produce they provided. Over 3 million pounds of Kentucky-grown fruits and vegetables were distributed to struggling Kentuckians in all 120 counties rather than going to waste in the field. That is the equivalent of filling half a plate full of fruits and vegetables for 4.8 million meals.
"An astounding one in four children doesn’t always know where his or her next meal will come from,” said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. “Donating a portion of their tax refund is an opportunity for Kentuckians to help ensure their most vulnerable neighbors have enough healthy food to eat.”
In 2014, the first year for the tax check-off program, state income taxpayers donated $41,443 to the fund.
“The $41,443 grant from the tax check-off donations allowed us to fill half a plate full of fruits and vegetables for over 200,000 meals during last year’s growing season,” said executive director of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks Tamara Sandberg. “Our goal for 2015 is $60,000 in donations, which would provide enough produce for 300,000 meals.”
To raise awareness of the need among low-income Kentuckians and the opportunity to give to the trust fund, Governor Steve Beshear has proclaimed February as Farms to Food Banks Month in Kentucky.
For more information, go to www.kafb.org.
About the Kentucky Association of Food Banks
The Kentucky Association of Food Banks is comprised of seven Feeding America food banks that reach all 120 counties of Kentucky and serve an estimated 1 in 7 of all Kentuckians annually. Last year, its members distributed 50 million meals in partnership with more than 800 charitable feeding agencies such as pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community, visit kafb.org.