Job losses and months of virtual learning when children did not get meals at school during the pandemic have created a hunger crisis for many Kentucky families.
Now, the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines in Bluegrass State and declining cases of the virus have eased the hunger crisis as parts of life move closer to normal.
Feeding America in the Heart of Kentucky continues its regular distribution of food to approximately 1,000 households in Lampkin Park, Warren County, once a month.
But with many children returning to in-person learning at school and having part of their meals there, Feeding America has combined two emergency distributions in Warren County into one monthly location.
Executive Director Jamie Sizemore said that in April, the food bank was serving 432 households in Ephram White Park and 372 households in Buchanan Park.
“So these continued to drop, in both, especially in Buchanan. So we decided to ask everyone in Buchanan Park to go to Ephram White, ”Sizemore said. “So these two together, we’re going to serve over 800 households.”
Sizemore said that as the crisis phase of the pandemic and the resulting food insecurity wanes, Feeding America Kentuky Heartlabd is in the recovery phase.
The Elizabethtown Food Bank serves 42 counties in central, south-central and western Kentucky, through regular and emergency distributions, local pantries and community programs. The food bank works with 225 partner agencies.
“Families with school-aged children are still the group that has been the most important factor in visiting pantries during this pandemic. And so we still see some of it. They haven’t gotten out of it yet, ”Sizemore said. “But things have gotten a little calmer now that the stimulus check, the third one, is out, the kids for the most part are back to school.”
Sizemore said while the need for emergency food has diminished a bit at the moment, it usually increases again in the summer when children are out of school.
More than half of the people served by Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland must choose between paying for utilities and buying food.