Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

April 4, 2013

Report: 1 in 5 do not have enough money to buy food

ASHLAND — To say a lot of people are hungry in Kentucky may be an understatement and a bit of a surprise, but a recent report on hunger shows one of five people here, more than 20 percent, report not having enough money to buy food within the last 12 months.

The “Food Hardship in America 2012” report was released by the Food Research and Action Center. It notes the news isn’t much better nationally, with just over 18 percent of Americans suffering from food hardships.

“This report provides evidence of both the lingering effects of the recession and the existence of holes in the federal safety net,” said Kentucky Association of Food Banks Executive Director Tamara Sandberg. “Food banks can attest to the continued need for emergency food assistance among our struggling neighbors. The shockingly high rate of households in Kentucky that struggle to put food on the table should spur all of us to join the fight to end hunger.”

Sandberg also said the issue isn’t always a supply problem as much as a money problem for people in the state who need more food.

“If you come to a food pantry and stand and watch the people who are standing in line, they will come in wearing their uniforms from work; they have jobs but they are just not earning enough to feed their families,” she said. “Or they have jobs and they also have catastrophic medical bills. They are having to choose between paying their bills or paying for food.”

This need has put an incredible strain on food banks. Sandberg said 84 percent more people were looking to food banks for food in 2010 than six years before.

“We’re currently gathering data to update that, and I’m guessing it’s going to be much worse because as the effects of the recession continue to impact so many families in Kentucky,” she said. “Food banks are already straining to meet the demands for emergency food assistance as it is let alone with the proposed cuts to the food stamp program. We are very concerned about that because if it is cut, it will just send more people to the food banks. I don’t know how we are going to meet the need if more people come because their food stamp benefits have been cut.”

Of course the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was one of the sticking points faced in last year’s Farm Bill failure. The House version called for bigger cuts than what the Senate had proposed. The USDA notes that the SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net and it also benefits local communities I an economic sense.

The USDA also reports that nationally, 3,214 farmers markets and farmers who sold directly to consumers authorized to redeem SNAP benefits in FY 2012.

But as the need as gone up at local food banks, the supply has decreased for many due in part to the amount food coming from the Emergency Food Assistance Program. For some food banks, half of their food comes from that program.

Sandberg said another source for food banks has been from manufacturers that typically send food banks any mismarked or dented cans or boxes. But as these companies’ processing abilities improve, there has been less food to send food bank networks.

In Kentucky, food banks have proven to be a valuable market for farmers. There in fact has been legislation passed that would create a market for a farmer’s “seconds” that don’t make it to the store front or farmers’ market but could be used to feed the hungry. The Farm to Food Banks bill however has never been funded by the General Assembly.

Sandberg said the food bank program could certainly help farmers looking to diversify and who are needing a market for their goods.

“Knowing that we will take all of their No. two frees them up to focus on marketing their more profitable number ones and it allows them to sell their entire crop as opposed to selling just the firsts,” she said. “The farmers we have worked with absolutely tell us we’re helping their bottom line and we’re increasing their cash flow.”

Kentucky Agricultural Development Funds have been used but the money ran out long before all the needs were met. And there have been other monetary donations made to the KAFB. Sandberg said the organization was able to work with 200 farmers last year and if the existing legislation were funded, even more could be added.

But funding is hard to come by even when the need is great. Kentucky ranks 19th in states for food hardships last year according to information from the Food Hardship in America 2012 report. Other states in the top 20 included Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia and Michigan to name a few.

Sandberg said the hunger issue is about so much more than just getting enough food to those who need it.

“It’s in the best interest of policymakers and business leaders to ensure that no one goes hungry in Kentucky. Hunger is a workforce development issue, because hungry kids can’t learn as well as their counterparts with full bellies and hungry workers aren’t as productive as their colleagues who never worry about putting food on the table,” she said.

The full Food Hardship In America 2012 report is available online at frac.org.

TIM THORNBERRY is a contributing writer at KyForward.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit

    A judge has refused to dismiss a former Boyd district and circuit judge’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that affects his ability to run for re-election this fall.
    In an order entered on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas D. Wingate denied a renewed motion to dismiss by current Boyd Circuit Judge George W. Davis III, an intervening respondent in the suit filed in January by Marc I. Rosen.

    April 23, 2014

  • Ashland football players join special-needs students for prom

    The purple chiffon gown and the sparkling tiara are back in the closet four days after the big dance, but Karina McBride still hasn’t stopped talking about Saturday night — the decorations, boys bringing her cups of punch, her first kiss (on the cheek, her mother hastens to interject), and dancing the night away at her first prom.
    “She’s been flying high since that night,” said Michele Woods, who is Karina’s mother and who brought together friends and volunteers to organize a prom for special needs students.

    April 23, 2014

  • Concrete pouring at Putnam

    Workers are pouring concrete foundations at Putnam Stadium and once those are dry and cured will be ready to install seats at the historic arena.
    The workers are putting in 12-hour shifts to keep on schedule to complete the stadium’s reconstruction in time for this fall’s football opener, said site supervisor Craig Chinn of Trace Creek Construction.
    The most visible work is happening on the home-team side of the stadium, where workers Tuesday were setting forms for the cylindrical concrete piers that will support the seats. Once those are poured, cured and inspected they will add the seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • Unique races for Carter magistrates

    Carter County magistrate ballots are full of candidates eager to represent constituents in each of the five districts that make up the county’s fiscal court.
    Of the five seats available, three magistrates are seeking re-election: Clarence “Sonny” Fankell, D-Grayson, District 2; Clifford “Sodbuster” Roe, D-Olive Hill, District 4; and Brandon Burton, R-Olive Hill, District 5.
    The incumbents will each have to battle as many as three opponents in their district primaries next month before they can focus on reclaiming their magistrate titles in the November general election.
    This year’s magistrate race will host a total of 22 candidates, with 11 from Grayson, nine from Olive Hill and two from Denton.

    April 23, 2014

  • Martin County marks 50 years since LBJ visit

    Today marks 5o years since former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Inez resident Tom Fletcher and promised to end poverty in America on April 24, 1964. On Friday, Inez will be commemorating the occasion with a special event.

    April 23, 2014

  • Trail Town trial run to be in Olive Hill this Sunday

    Olive Hill will participate in a trial run this Saturday in the city’s push to become a certified Kentucky Trail Town.

    April 23, 2014

  • Some area farmers may be eligible for LIP program

    The Grayson  Farm Service Agency, (Boyd, Carter, Elliott and Lawrence) is having registration for the Livestock Indemnity Program to eligible producers who suffered losses beginning Oct. 1, 2011, and subsequent years.

    April 23, 2014

  • News in brief, 04/24/14

    The King’s Daughters Pregancy and Infant Loss Support Group invites families who have experienced the loss of an infant during pregnancy or following birth to participate in a butterfly release and prayer ceremony at 2 p.m. May 10 at the Ashland Central Park fountain.

    April 23, 2014

  • Garner hosting National Day of Prayer activities

    The Garner Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting day long events at the Kyova Mall to commemorate the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 1.

    April 23, 2014

  • Flatwoods mayoral debate set for Tuesday

    A public debate among the candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Flatwoods will take place next week.

    April 22, 2014