This month the Mercer County Food Coalition is celebrating is celebrating two years of serving the hungry.
“We started out keeping around 5,987 pounds of food in our county. Today we are keeping anywhere from 9,000 to 13,000 pounds,” said Kassie Barker, director at the Christian Life Center and cocreator of the coalition.
The Coalition was formed in 2015 when Linda Golebiewski, food sourcing coordinator at God’s Pantry Food Bank in Lexington, reached out to the Barker and the Christian Life Center for a place to keep the thousands of pounds of food available in the area.
God’s Pantry is a member of Feeding America, which aims to make the transfer of food throughout the United States more equitable. Feeding America has partnerships with 243 food banks throughout the country to distribute food to those in need.
God’s Pantry in turn works with the 50 counties in Eastern and Central Kentucky to feed the hungry. They have warehouses in Lexington, Winchester, Morehead, Prestonsburg and London where smaller food banks can stock up on food.
Through Feed America, God’s Pantry has access to food from major corporations such as Walmart.
According to the Census Bureau, 18-percent of Mercer County’s population live below the federal poverty level. Barker said the food donations serve around 700 families.
Walmart is also currently in the middle of their “Fight Hunger. Spark Change” campaign. This year the retailer partnered with Discover card, Campbell Soups, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kraft-Heinz and PepsiCo to help end hunger.
When a participating product is purchased, the supplier will donate nine-cents, the equivalent of one meal, to Feeding America.
Walmart cashiers will ask customers usingDiscover cards if they would like to donate money to the food bank. Golebiewski said purchases made at the Walmart on Joseph Drive will go to the local food banks.
“This will be staying in your community,” she said.
The public can also help on social media. By using the hashtag #FightHunger on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, Walmart will donate 90-cents to Feeding America, up to $1.5 million.
The “Stop Hunger. Spark Change” campaign continues until Monday, May 15.
For more information on the Mercer Food Coalition call Kassie Barker at 734-5001.
For more information on God’s Pantry and Feeding America, visit www.godspantry.org.
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of The Harrodsburg Herald.