MOUNT VERNON, Ky. — Christian Appalachian Project Grateful Bread Food Pantry brought together staff, volunteers, the community, and Rockcastle County Schools to bring awareness to hunger related issues in Appalachia at its 5th Annual Hunger Walk, September 14. This year 601 walkers participated, and collected 821 pounds of food.
“Our community is not immune from hunger issues,” said Carolyn Lindsey, manager of the Grateful Bread Food Pantry. “In Rockcastle County last month, we served 921 families. That is 1,748 adults and children in our community that needed help.”
In fact, hunger and food insecurity issues exist in every community in the United States. More than 48 million Americans live in food insecure households in 2014. That means that 15.3 million children under 18 in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. Families in Kentucky face a disproportionately high rate of food insecurity in comparison to the rest of the country.
“I know that many of us here today are blessed to have access to food around the clock. However, that is not the case for all people living in Kentucky,” said Kerrigan Medley, a student at Rockcastle County Middle School, who addressed the crowd. “These are more than just numbers. They are the kids we go to school with, the people you see at church, your neighbors. These are the people of our community that we see every day.”
Medley helped put a face on the statistics that say in Kentucky 21.9 percent of children are food insecure, meaning that 222,380 children live in households where they are not guaranteed their next meal. One in six people in Kentucky struggle with hunger.
“There is still a need within our community to help those that are hungry,” Medley said. “So whether you’re the founder of an organization feeding thousands each day or you go donate a box of spaghetti to a local pantry, you’re feeding someone who is hungry, and that is my request to you, feed someone who is hungry.”
The Hunger Walk was co-sponsored by the City of Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County Schools, Wal-mart in Berea, and Chick-fil-a in Richmond. Attendees included Mike Bryant, mayor of Mt. Vernon; Doug Bishop, Rockcastle County judge executive; Kenny Fields, manager of Wal-mart; and Shane Baker, field representative from the Office of the Governor.