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Success Stories

Rural health care grant helps God’s Pantry Food Bank expand food delivery program

Greg Thomas
Food Supply
Health Care
God's Pantry Food Bank Mobile Pantry Program

Food insecurity in rural Kentucky, depending on who you ask, is somewhere around 15 percent. That means about one out of every six households does not have access to affordable nutritious food, putting them at increased risk for conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. Kentucky also leads the nation in food insecurity among older adults.

The relationship between food insecurity and community health led to the inclusion of food assistance through food banks and distribution facilities as eligible uses when Rural Development’s Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program was created in 2021.

Food insecurity is something God’s Pantry Food Bank has been working to address for over 50 years. God’s Pantry Food Bank partners with over 450 food pantries and meal programs in 50 Kentucky counties, but in some counties, the need far outweighs the support infrastructure.

God's Pantry Food Bank food distribution

That’s where the Mobile Pantry Program comes in. Using refrigerated trucks, they deliver nutritious food directly into the counties and areas that need it the most. And an Emergency Rural Health Care Grant from USDA Rural Development helped them expand the program even further.

At a recent food drop, the Mobile Pantry truck dropped off non-perishable food items like animal crackers, peanut butter, canned beef stew, dry cereal, and split peas. Also included in this drop were cabbages, onions, and sweet potatoes.

God's Pantry Food Bank food distribution

“Here, we’re putting together boxes to hand out to 144 families,” said Wade Turner, a volunteer and the farm manager at the UK Robinson Center in Jackson, Kentucky. “If we had twice that number, we still couldn’t meet the need in this area.”

That was the same story at another recent food drop in Flemingsburg where cars started lining up over two hours before the distribution was set to begin.

Before the grant, God’s Pantry Food Bank's Mobile Pantry Program delivered to eight counties, and they used the grant to more than double the number of counties served (up to 20 counties now) across Central and Eastern Kentucky.

“I'm really thankful for this food,” said Pat, who asked not to provide a last name, after picking food up at a distribution. “I'm on a fixed income, so every little bit helps more than you know. God bless you all for helping us who don't have much.”

Eric Johnson, God's Pantry Food Bank Mobile Pantry Program
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