KDA secures funding to purchase freezers, refrigerators for Kentucky food pantries
Cold storage capacity purchase part of Kentucky Hunger Initiative
FRANKFORT (Sept. 11, 2023) – Local food pantries across Kentucky have more space to store food items, thanks to $40,000 in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding secured by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA).
“Thanks to the hard work of our Division of Food Distribution and Feeding Kentucky, we were able to again fund the purchase of more and much-needed space to keep food fresh at food pantries in need,” Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “The freezers and refrigerators help pantries preserve donations of perishable items, such as eggs, meat, and milk so they can be distributed to food insecure Kentuckians.”
KDA partnered with Feeding Kentucky to distribute funding to its seven-member food banks. The food banks in turn determined where the funds had the most impact. Nearly all of the funding was used to purchase stand-alone freezer and cooler units. The Louisville-based Dare to Care Food Bank received funding to partially purchase a large walk-in cooler for one of its member food pantries. In total, the funding helped purchase 42 freezers and refrigerators for food pantries across the state.
The action is the latest in a series of steps KDA has taken as part of the Kentucky Hunger Initiative, launched in 2016 by Commissioner Quarles to bring together farmers, charitable organizations, faith groups, community leaders, and government entities to reduce hunger in Kentucky. This is the second time the Division of Food Distribution has secured USDA funding for such purchases. In 2020, the KDA used $25,000 from The Emergency Food Assistance Program to purchase 32 chest freezers and 24 standard refrigerators with top freezers that were delivered to food pantries across the state.
"Fresh and frozen food is often the healthiest food available, but the distribution of these foods requires greater infrastructure at every point in the distribution chain,” said Marian Guinn, Feeding Kentucky Interim Executive Director. “We are pleased to have had the opportunity again this year to strengthen our distribution system at the pantry level. Feeding Kentucky is pleased to work with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Ryan Quarles, Commissioner of Agriculture, to increase the availability of nutritious food across the commonwealth."
Feeding Kentucky’s seven-member food banks serve all 120 Kentucky counties in partnership with a network of more than 800 local food pantries and shelters. Learn more about the Kentucky Hunger Initiative by visiting kyagr.com/hunger.