Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles shares some of the highlights from 10 regional meetings of local advocates for the hungry during a meeting of the Kentucky Hunger Task Force on Tuesday in Frankfort. (Kentucky Department of Agriculture photo)
Commissioner Quarles convenes Hunger Task Force to review findings from 10 regional meetings
Committees will work ahead of the task force's next meeting in February
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
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FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Hunger Task Force reviewed the findings of the 10 regional meetings held earlier this year and mapped out an action plan for the next three months in a meeting today in Frankfort.
“The regional meetings produced useful information from the people combating hunger on the ground in Kentucky,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “The next step for the task force is to use this information to develop concrete steps that we can take to reduce food insecurity in our state.”
Commissioner Quarles reported that 510 people from 97 counties and 78 organizations attended the regional meetings. The meetings were held in Highland Heights, London, Lexington, Bowling Green, Morehead, Mayfield, Owensboro, Louisville, Elizabethtown, and Pikeville from June 21 through September 28.
Joe Bilby, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s general counsel, updated the task force on legal issues surrounding the procurement and delivery of food to the hungry. Tamara Sandberg, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks, talked about the annual food banks rally at the Capitol on Feb. 7 and donations to the Farms to Food Banks Trust Fund from the checkoff box on Kentucky income tax returns.
Committees were organized to continue the work of the task force:
- The Policy and Regulations Committee will identify any potential legislation, regulations, or policies that need to be adopted or changed in order to better serve food-insecure communities in Kentucky.
- The Communications Committee will work to identify systems that can be used to better communicate the issue of food insecurity in Kentucky. It also was assigned to craft a strategy to enable organizations that fight hunger to better communicate with one another and the clients they serve.
- The Food Procurement Committee will help devise a strategy to get Kentucky-grown and -processed food into the hands of those who need them.
The committees will meet prior to the next task force meeting on Feb. 3.
Kentucky organizations that serve the hungry fed an estimated 47.3 million meals to approximately 618,000 Kentuckians in 2015, Commissioner Quarles told the committee.
Commissioner Quarles launched the first-of-its-kind Kentucky Hunger Initiative and formed the task force last spring to bring together farmers, businesses, charitable organizations, faith groups, community leaders, government entities, and others to study food insecurity in Kentucky and take an inventory of the resources that can be brought to bear against the problem.
Map the Meal Gap 2016, an annual study by Feeding America, revealed that one in every six Kentuckians – including one in five children – was food insecure in 2014, meaning that consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.
For more information about the Hunger Initiative and the Hunger Task Force, go to kyagr.com/hunger.