FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - A bipartisan group of state officials joined together at the State Capitol on Wednesday for the fifth annual “Rally Against Hunger.”
Gov. Matt Bevin spoke of heartbreaking stories you hear in the foster care system “who may have a child who comes into their home for a period of time who is hoarding food,” he said. “It is a child who is not sure that there will be food there when they wake up. That is absolutely tragic and heartbreaking.”
“One in six Kentuckians, and one in five Kentucky school children, suffer from food insecurity.”
Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles described an effort with the governor and the Finance and Administration Cabinet to help hungry families last Christmas.
“We were able to purchase 14-semi truckloads of food at a 96 percent discount, at zero cost to taxpayers. Over 300,000 meals of FEMA surplus food were delivered in Kentucky, or those less fortunate.”
Democrats also participated in the event. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who sponsored a large food drive among the Area Development Districts last fall, said the work is not yet done. “This is a problem that we can solve. A problem that we must solve.”
She also called upon the General Assembly to continue funding food programs.
“The funding takes us through the summer months,” she said. “It’s the winter months that we have to continue to address, because the problem doesn’t stop when September arrives, it only gets worse as the temperature gets lower.”
Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sponsored a food drive last year among members of the legal community and also commented on the 200,000 children who suffer from food insecurity.
“These children are in our neighborhoods, they’re in our schools and attend our places of worship,” he said. “Far too often their hunger goes unrecognized. Not because Kentuckians are callous, they’re not. But because they simply don’t know and don’t recognize it.”
Speakers also emphasized the decision some families make about whether to buy food for their children or pay to heat their homes. Thirty-two percent of families served by food banks make that choice every month, they said.