Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland (FAKH) has announced partnerships with Allen, Caldwell, Logan, Russell and Washington County School Districts, as well as Caverna Independent School District to support a new School Pantry Pilot Program within these school systems. The program seeks to improve food security among students and their families by providing perishable and non-perishable food items at no cost. These school pantries will be another resource beyond school meals to support students and their families who are facing hunger by providing them with consistent access to food.
“We are thrilled to announce our partnership with six local school districts for the School Pantry Pilot Program,” said FAKH Executive Director Jamie Sizemore. “Schools are a natural fit for food pantries to allow kids and their families easy access to additional food, if needed. Parents might not be able to access traditional pantries in their community because of times open or location so we are meeting them where they are the most.”
The new program is scheduled to operate from September, 2023 through March, 2024. Through the partnership, FAKH will acquire and transport food to each school district, provide cold storage units, food safety training and educational materials directing families to additional food assistance through local FAKH Agency Partners and SNAP.
Each school district shared their enthusiasm for the program and what it will mean for the students and families that they serve.
“By supporting this project we are working towards a future where every child has access to nutritious meals,” added Hannah Erwin, Family Resource Coordinator for Allen County Primary School.
“Food insecurity is an unfortunate reality, and this collaboration is an important step towards enhancing the well-being of our students and families,” said Terry Smith, Family Resource & Youth Services Director for Caverna Independent Schools.
The pilot initiative is sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Feeding Kentucky.
“Food insecurity has significant detrimental effects on health, especially in children, and can leave devastating, long-lasting impacts across communities, so it is critical we develop and implement resources for our neighbors who need them most,” said Leon Lamoreaux, President, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid in Kentucky. “Our sponsorship of this impactful venture reflects Anthem’s ongoing support for strategic, innovative opportunities that address the health needs of children across Kentucky.”
“We are glad to be able to support FAKH and their Pantry Schools through this initiative,” said Kate McDonald Goodin, No Kid Hungry Kentucky Campaign Director at Feeding Kentucky. “The School Pantry Project will help us cultivate communities where students along with their families don’t have to stress over the burden of hunger.”