FRANKFORT, Ky. — Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles has announced Feeding Kentucky has acquired 28,000 pounds of Kentucky Proud ground beef from Marksbury Farms for distribution among Kentucky’s food bank network. The purchase is funded by a historic donation Kentucky Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company made to Feeding Kentucky in April of this year as part of the Kentucky Hunger Initiative started by Quarles in 2016.
“When we started the Kentucky Hunger Initiative years ago, the goal was to build a network to connect farmers and agribusinesses to Kentucky’s food bank system,” Quarles said. “This donation, bolstered by Kentucky Farm Bureau’s amazing donation as part of the Hunger Initiative, is the perfect culmination of this work. Kentucky’s workers and families are still struggling to recover from the government-mandated shutdown of our economy during COVID-19. Vulnerable Kentuckians affected by this global pandemic will now have more access to food for their families.”
The purchase is possible due to a historic $500,000 donation from Kentucky Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company to hunger-relief charities as a part of Quarles’ Kentucky Hunger Initiative — an effort to bring together farmers, charitable organizations, faith groups, community leaders and government entities to reduce hunger in Kentucky.
The donation, which was a response to rising food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, is the largest single private donation made as part of the Kentucky Hunter Initiative since it launched in 2016. The funds were divided into sizable donations to three local non-profit organizations – Feeding Kentucky, Glean Kentucky and Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry – as part of the Kentucky Hunger Initiative.
“The Kentucky Hunger Initiative continues to provide much needed food for Kentucky’s hungry,” Tamara Sandberg of Feeding Kentucky said. “We are incredibly proud to continue working with Commissioner Quarles, KDA staff, and Kentucky Farm Bureau to support our farmers and our struggling neighbors during this challenging time.”
“Food insecurity is a battle facing many of our fellow Kentuckians, especially during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. That said, it is both important and rewarding to see our donation to the Kentucky Hunger Initiative used in ways that help families put Kentucky-raised, protein-rich food on the table,” said John Sparrow, executive vice president and CEO of Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance. “We continue to be very proud of our partnership with Feeding Kentucky through this program and, with today’s beef purchase as a prime example, can easily see the tremendous assistance it provides to families in need across the commonwealth.”
The beef product was picked up by in Mount Vernon on Friday, Aug. 21, by “Service First,” a company out of Elizabethtown. The product will be distributed to hungry Kentuckians by way of Dare to Care in Louisville; Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland in Elizabethtown; Purchase Area Development District out of Mayfield and Tri-State Foodbank in Evansville, which serves Owensboro. The three other regional food banks serving Kentucky received Kentucky-raised ground beef from Beef Solutions thanks to a Hunger Initiative event for Beef Month in May 2020.
This was not the first purchase of food with the historic donation. More than 10,000 pounds of pork sausage, 750 pounds of eggs, more than 4,000 pounds of cheese, and 1,028 boxes of mixed fresh produce were sourced from Kentucky producers and distributed by food banks across the Commonwealth since April 2020.
To learn more about Quarles Hunter Initiative, visit kyagr.com/hunger.