Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

May 16, 2013

Food pantry receives childhood hunger grant

Staff report
The Independent

ASHLAND — The First United Methodist Church Food Pantry, a Huntington Area Food Bank-affiliated agency, has been selected to receive a grant of $20,000. The funds will be used to implement and maintain childhood hunger programs.

Fighting Hunger Together grants were made available through Feeding America, the nations’s largest hunger relief agency, in conjunction with the Wal-Mart Foundation. The grants provided a total of $3 million to Feeding America member food banks and their partner agencies. The Methodist pantry was one of 60 partner agencies selected to receive the grant.

Linda Firebaugh, the food pantry’s director, said the funds will be used to distribute extra food to families with children during summer and holiday breaks. The pantry serves 76 families with children in the household.

“We would like to thank Wal-Mart as well as the community for allowing us to receive this grant,” Firebaugh said. “With the community’s support through the voting campaign, we will be able to give children a little something extra when they do not have access to school meals.”

“We are thrilled that one of our agencies was awarded this grant,” said Tiffany Tatum, the food bank’s executive director. “Children can be the most vulnerable to hunger, and this grant will help get much needed food to them.”

According to Feeding America, more than 21 percent of Boyd County’s childhood population lacks proper food resources. Seventy-four percent of the county’s childhood population is income-eligible for federal nutrition assistance.

The food bank is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization affiliated with Feeding America, the largest hunger relief agency in the United States. It services 260 agencies in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

The food bank receives products from Feeding America, USDA, local donors, regional grocers, restaurants, farmers, food manufacturers and food processors.