Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland honors volunteers during luncheon

April 28, 2024 – Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland (FAKH) hosted its annual Volunteer Luncheon Friday afternoon at the Hardin County Extension Office in Elizabethtown. The event celebrated the contributions of FAKH volunteers who have supported the organization’s mission to combat food insecurity across its 42-county service area in the last year.

In 2023, FAKH had over 5,000 individuals volunteer at the organization’s Volunteer Center in Elizabethtown, totaling over 16,000 hours of service. This volunteer effort equates to the work of nearly eight full-time employees.

At the Volunteer Center, volunteers pack Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) boxes for seniors and BackPack Program bags for children in local school systems. Each month, 8,600 Kentucky seniors receive CSFP boxes, and each week 5,300 Kentucky children receive BackPack Program bags packed with healthy, easy-to-prepare food for kid-friendly meals.

In addition, the organization recognized its volunteers working with FAKH’s 250 agency partners to distribute food resources across Kentucky. During the luncheon, nearly 70 individuals and group representatives were recognized and presented with awards for their dedicated service. Some of the organizations recognized included First Christian Church, Classic Corvettes, Central Hardin High School Special Education, and Akima, among others.

“Our volunteers are the driving force behind every meal provided, every family supported, and every life made better because there is food in the cabinets,” said FAKH Executive Director Charles Dennis. “They are the embodiment of compassion and generosity, opening not just their schedules, but also their hearts, to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors facing hunger.”

The highlight of the luncheon was the presentation of the 2024 Golden Plate Awards, which honors individuals and entities that have shown exceptional dedication to support FAKH’s mission. The four recipients were Belinda Blair of Elizabethtown, Johnalma Barnett of Bowling Green, Karen Wenstrand of Elizabethtown, and the City of Elizabethtown Government.

“Our important work in the region would be impossible without the dedication of our volunteers, and we extend a warm invitation to anyone who wishes to contribute to our cause in any way they can,” Dennis said.

“Volunteering with Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland offers more than just combating food insecurity; it’s a chance to forge meaningful connections. Whether engaging in structured volunteer activities or enjoying moments with loved ones, volunteering fosters a sense of community. We take great pride in being a catalyst for this shared sense of community and togetherness in pursuit of our crucial mission.”

To learn more about FAKH’s mission or how to get involved, visit feedingamericaky.org/volunteer and to see the photo album from the 2024 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon click here.