Help feed communities in need in Appalachia

Hunger walks among us and impacts far too many children, their families, and seniors in Appalachia. Water Into Wine, the largest food pantry in Magoffin County, has distributed more than 1 million pounds of food during 2021 in addition to 3 million pounds of other essential items, including furniture, which helped families in Appalachia recover after natural disasters devastated Eastern Kentucky earlier this year.

Water Into Wine has been a partner organization with Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) since 2017. The pantry has helped fight hunger and feed hope to people in need in Appalachia alongside CAP’s Grateful Bread Food Pantry and Eagle Food Pantry. As part of the partnership, CAP’s Operation Sharing Program helps provide food and essential items to Water Into Wine to distribute to people in need in Magoffin County.

“Through CAP, Water Into Wine has been able to expand our capacity of giving tremendously,” said Jeff Tackett, the pantry’s community outreach and mission coordinator. “When we first started serving the community, we fed 75 families a month, but since then we have continued to grow to meet the needs of the community.” Today, the pantry feeds on average 700 households each month and 200 seniors through commodity boxes. At times the pantry can feed up to 1,200 to 1,500 households a month, Tackett added.

When an ice storm followed by historic flooding impacted Eastern Kentucky in February and March, Water Into Wine housed disaster relief groups that came to work in the area and became a distribution location for essential items. The ice storm caused area-wide power outages, which lasted weeks for several households, and downed trees across mountain roads, making travel difficult. During that time the pantry was focused on replacing food items for families impacted by the power outages.

Water Into Wine got word of a family that was without power, food, and water for several days, and was isolated to their property because of downed trees. The pantry worked in conjunction with a rescue team that it was housing at the time to answer the call for help. The team made their way down the blocked road on foot and backpacked more than 100 pounds of food and needed medicine to the family.

Aside from being a full-service pantry, Water Into Wine offers a variety of resources for Magoffin County, including a community computer lab, tutoring and mentoring for students, career technical training, prescription assistance, and an in-house radio station that shares important news about the pantry and gospel music with clients.

"When we entered a partnership with CAP, we wanted to make our program community-wide and include more services,” Tackett said. “We've been able to do that and build it around the pantry."

CAP’s annual Hunger Walk helps increase awareness about food insecurity in Appalachia, collects nonperishable food items, and raises funds to support the pantries. This marks 10 years for the event with this year’s walk sponsored by Texas Roadhouse.

You can help fight hunger and feed hope in Appalachia by participating in this year’s online Hunger Walk activities.  You’re invited to lace up your tennis shoes and have your own CAP Hunger Walk wherever you live. Snap a picture and post it on Facebook or Instagram with #HungerWalk21 and tag us @chrisappproj. Visit christianapp.org/HungerWalk21 to create your own online fundraiser that you can share with family and friends. Every dollar makes a difference.

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