Foodbankers Advocate in Frankfort, KY
This week Freestore Foodbank along with our six other sister foodbanks from across the Commonwealth of Kentucky descended on Frankfort, KY to rally the Hunger Heroes and advocate for an increase in funding for the Farm to Foodbank Program managed by Feeding Kentucky and administered by Ag Commissioner, Ryan Quarles and Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture.
Our Freestore team, lead by Trish Rayner, our Chief Development Officer & VP of External Affairs, and supported by Amy Heyd and Keith Caldwell, of our Programs & Partnership’s team, joined the other foodbankers of Kentucky to “Rally in the Rotunda”. In addition to Ag Commissioner Quarles, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear proclaimed, February 28, 2023 as Hunger Free Kentucky Day and spoke of his ongoing support of Feeding Kentucky and its member foodbanks. Governor Beshear also made a donation of $16,000 to Feeding Kentucky from funds that were left over from the Beshear-Coleman Inaugural funds.
In addition to the Rally in the Rotunda, our Freestore team met with our Kentucky State Representatives and Senators to thank them for their prior support and encourage them to support the increased funding for the Farm to Foodbank program.
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Emergency Allotment of SNAP Benefits Ends
We don’t know if March will “come in like a lion” or “come in like a lamb”, however, one thing that we do know is that there will be 52,000 of our neighbors who call Hamilton County their home will lose the emergency allotment of SNAP benefits as of March 1st! The economic impact just in Hamilton County will be roughly $150 million over the next 12 months and nationally, the impact will be even more devastating.
Closer to home we know that Freestore distributes roughly 50% of its food through our Liberty Street Market and our food pantries located in Hamilton County. If we double the economic impact of the emergency allotments going away for our remaining 19 county service area, we arrive at nearly $300 million in lost buying power for our tristate neighbors.
Human Services Chamber of Hamilton County
Recently, the Human Services Chamber of Hamilton County (HSC) held its Annual Meeting and the Keynote Speaker was the Executive Director of the Human Services Chamber of Franklin County (near Columbus). Freestore Foodbank is a charter member of the HSC and it has been in existence for a little over nine years. The primary purpose of the HSC is to advocate for public policy changes that support the Human Services Sector, as well as increased public support of Hamilton County nonprofits.
WVXU Showcases FSFB’s New Facility & Home Delivery
During a recent presentation at the Northern Kentucky Chamber’s Eggs N Issues breakfast, Freestore was able to discuss our new Community Resource & Distribution Center that will house our Cincinnati COOKS! and LIFT the TriState workforce training programs. We were also able to discuss our Freestore Direct pilot program that is currently reaching 500 families per week with our partnership with Amazon.
After our presentation we were able to highlight our commitment to NKY and how our new facility will be transformational for our FSFB team, the families that we serve and our tristate community during an interview with WVXU Public Radio.
Just as our Freestore Direct pilot continues to gain momentum, nationally, foodbanks across the U.S. are working hard to determine its viability. A recent article in Food Bank News discusses the concern that foodbankers across the U.S. are expressing about being able to financially sustain and grow this meaningful effort for the families that we serve.
Freestore Foodbank Represented on Feeding America’s National Council
Feeding America’s National Council (NAC) is comprised of twenty leaders from throughout the U.S. and its membership mirrors the seven USDA Regions. Freestore Foodbank is part of the Midwest Region.
The purpose of the NAC is to support the 200 foodbanks that make up the Feeding America Network and serve as the elected liaison to Feeding America’s National Office. The NAC met in Chicago this week to discuss food sourcing challenges, the implementation of the new Partner Foodbank Agreement which went into effect as of March 1st, and the upcoming National Conference that will take place in New Orleans during the month of April (the photo shown is when the NAC met at the Atlanta Community Food Bank).