By Brianna Stephens
The coronavirus pandemic has made it challenging for groups to volunteer in Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) events and programs. That challenge is no different for Ray Robertson, an insurance agent for CAP with Limestone Agency.
While his agency usually gets involved by providing and preparing meals for events like CAP’s employee Safety Day, which was cancelled because of COVID-19, they looked for a new way to give back and be hands-on with the organization.
Limestone Agency, SECURA Insurance, insurance carrier for CAP, and Keystone Insurers Group, which Robertson is a member of, came together to contribute around $1,400 worth of food for CAP’s Grateful Bread Food Pantry Backpack Program. Robertson, his wife Stephanie, and Cheryl Thornsburg of Limestone Agency, and Lisa Switzer, the Kentucky market manager of SECURA Insurance, brought the donation to the pantry Feb. 24 and assembled the backpacks.
SECURA Insurance also provided a pizza lunch for the volunteers and staff working at the pantry that day.
“CAP is near and dear to my heart. It is something I am glad to be able to give back to,” Robertson said. “When I first started working on this account, I went to visit the programs. Everybody I met didn't have a job, they had a mission. It was what they believed in. That really struck a chord with me.”
The insurance agents packed more than 100 backpacks with drinks, snacks, and meals to provide weekend nutrition for a group of Rockcastle County Schools students who have been identified as the most at-risk for hunger. One in four children in Rockcastle County struggle with food insecurity.
“This donation will be very helpful to the community, and it was perfect timing” said Sherri Barnett, manager of Grateful Bread Food Pantry. “On top of the challenges families have faced because of the pandemic, the community just went through a major ice storm that left several people without power for almost two weeks. We are very appreciative of this donation to help families in need.”
After packing the backpacks, the insurance agents helped pantry staff pack boxes for its Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which benefits low-income seniors ages 60 and above. Senior citizens living in poverty are at a special risk of malnutrition, and these commodity boxes are specifically designed to lower that risk.