Feeding America

Gordon Burba, a truck driver for Feeding America, Kentucky's Heartland, rushes to catch empty boxes being blown across a table by the wind on Thursday during government commodity distribution at the Cave City Convention Center along Mammoth Cave Street. In the background is Jim Page with Pathfinders in Cave City. 

CAVE CITY — The number of households receiving government commodities through the Feeding America, Kentucky's Heartland food bank in Cave City and Glasgow continues to grow.

A mass distribution of government commodities began in both towns in August due to a study conducted by Feeding America's national office in Chicago that compared 42 Kentucky counties served by the food bank and showed Barren County to have 6,750, or 15 percent of adults to be food insecure for the first quarter of 2019.

The number of households being served by the food bank has grown each month in both towns.

Jamie Sizemore, executive director of Feeding America, Kentucky's Heartland's food bank, said it is typical for the number of households being served via mass distribution to grow.

“Actually, this particular distribution, both of these, are growing faster than most do,” she said. “We find mass distributions, when we start these in other counties, the household count that 's served will grow. But these two distributions are growing faster than normal and so that just tells me there were a lot of underserved households.”

Jim Page with Pathfinders in Cave City reported a little more than 500 households receiving government commodities in Cave City on Thursday, which is up from 449 households that were served in Cave City in October.

Sheri Lee, executive operations director for the Housing Authority of Glasgow, said on Thursday during a meeting of the housing authority's board directors that there were 800 households that received government commodities in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Lee also said that there are plans to order enough food to serve 900 households in December at the Glasgow location.

“We've just been really surprised by how quickly they've grown,” Sizemore said. “Like I said, just to me, again just shows (there is a great need) … that's the whole reason we started these is because we knew there was a lot more need that wasn't being met, and some people are just not comfortable going to a food pantry regardless of where it is located.”

In addition to Barren County, Christian and Meade counties were also shown to be under-served by the study conducted by Feeding America's national office in Chicago for the first quarter of 2019.

Barren County continues to be under-served and Sizemore said that is because Feeding America looks at the past 12 month rolling total.

“Every quarter, when I get that report, it's the previous 12 months; how many pounds of food is being distributed in that county and they equate that in to meals verses the number of food insecure people,” she said.

While the number of households receiving government commodities continues to grow, Sizemore said Feeding America is making some headway in meeting the need in Barren County.

“It's working. Everything we set out to do, all the great help that we've had in Barren County, the community, our partner agencies, those who have stepped up, River Lake Church, the city of Cave City, the mayor there and the convention center everybody has stepped up to make it happen and that way we've been able to serve more households,” Sizemore said.

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