Kentucky farmers, join me in the fight against hunger in Kentucky
About 1 in 7 Kentuckians relies on a food bank for a meal at some point during the year. Kentucky farmers are uniquely positioned to meet the challenge of feeding Kentucky's hungry. I was pleased to proclaim September as Farmers and Food Banks Fighting Hunger Month in Kentucky. In doing so, I hoped to raise awareness of the need for fresh, nutritious foods for Kentucky's most vulnerable populations.
I was equally pleased to see the Kentucky Beef Council launch Beef Counts KY, a program designed to provide a consistent supply of nutrient-rich beef for Kentucky's hungry. Producers can donate cash or proceeds from the sale of beef animals to Beef Counts KY. Members of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks will use the donations to supply beef to their clients. Beef Counts KY provides a simple way that beef producers can make a significant impact on the hunger problem in Kentucky. My friend Chuck Crutcher, a Hardin County beef producer and chairman of the Kentucky Beef Council, pointed out that proceeds from the sale of one animal provide approximately 1,600 servings of beef protein.
Beef Counts KY joins Farms to Food Banks as innovative programs from the Kentucky Association of Food Banks to get fresh, healthful, local foods to the people who need them. The Farms to Food Banks program purchases Kentucky-grown surplus and No. 2 grade produce fruits and vegetables that are perfectly edible but not saleable at retail and distribute it to low-income Kentuckians at no cost. The program provides farmers with a market for products that otherwise would go to waste while providing our hungry brothers and sisters with fresh produce that they otherwise could not buy. KAFB member food bank God's Pantry of Lexington implemented the Farms to Food Banks program in its eastern Kentucky service area in 2009 and 2010. KAFB took the program statewide last year and distributed nearly 800,000 pounds of produce from 202 Kentucky producers to clients in 109 of Kentucky's 120 counties.
The seven Feeding America food banks that make up the membership of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks distributed 50.9 million pounds of food and grocery products - the equivalent of 39 million meals - to more than 1,000 charitable feeding agencies such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in 2011. I urge you to go to the Kentucky Association of Food Banks' website, www.kafb.org, and find out more about Beef Counts KY and Farms to Food Banks. You will be amazed at the good work that KAFB does. And now KAFB and the Kentucky Beef Council have provided an easy way for you to help. Beef it's what's for dinner for all Kentuckians.