When Graves County was established in the early 1800’s as part of the Jackson Purchase, it attracted settlers from all over the region. Between the fertile land, the logging industry, and favorable land rates, opportunities in this new part of the state were easy to come by.1 Nearly 200 years later, many of these same opportunities, and additional ones as well, are still drawing people to the Mayfield area. But unfortunately, not everything is easy to come by for everyone in Graves County.
Graves County is one of the 42 counties served by Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland (FAKH). According to a Feeding America study, approximately 1 in 7 people living in Graves County (13.8%) are food-insecure.2 This means that while they might not be going completely without food, they don’t always know when or where that food will come from. To help alleviate this uncertainty, there are several programs in Mayfield and in outlying parts of the county which provide a reliable, consistent source of food for these individuals and their families. These programs are run by the Purchase Area Development District (PADD), the Partner Distributing Organization (PDO) which operates under FAKH in western Kentucky.
There are currently 9 partner agencies within the county:
Community of Christ Church
Enon Baptist Church
1st Assembly of God
Mayfield-Graves County Needline and Food Pantry
Melber Baptist Church
New Life Baptist Church
Operation Not 1 Missed
St. Joseph Church
Through our partnership with PADD, these individuals and families are able to fill their pantries and tables with various food items. Other programs to support those in the community who are more vulnerable are also available. Each month nearly 300 seniors are provided with a box of food through the CSFP Program. This government commodities program helps support those who are 60 and older and struggle to meet all of their own needs, usually because of a limited income. In addition, the BackPack Program provides weekend food to over 150 students who often rely on the school meals they receive during the week as a main source of nourishment.
We are incredibly grateful for PADD, the agencies in Graves County, and all they are doing to fight hunger in western Kentucky. But there is still a lot to be done. Along with their education and culture, the early settlers also brought with them the determination to succeed.3 They would no doubt want the same for the county’s current residents. In order for one to succeed, basic needs must be met first. Together, we can work to make success possible for everyone.