LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Whether it is the long lines at food banks seen on the national news or distributions right in our own backyard, it is hard to turn a blind eye to the battle many of our own neighbors are fighting.
"2020 is definitely a year that we need to galvanize around action for people facing hunger, " said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America.
In addition to COVID-19, a hunger crisis is plaguing our communities right here in Kentucky.
"I don't know that people facing hunger have ever had so many challenges to confront all at one time," Babineaux-Fontenot said.
Babineaux-Fontenot said these issues are nationwide, and before COVID-19, about 35 million Americans were food-insecure, according to the USDA. Now, due to the pandemic and the financial hardships brough on by it, that number is estimated to soar to 50 million -- 20 million of whom are children.
Unfortuantely, she said, hunger is only adding fuel to the pandemic's fire.
"We see that so many people who are already food insecure are being inordinately impacted, not only by the financial implications of COVID, but also by the health implications of COVID, " Babineaux-Fontenot said. "So many of those underlying conditions, the cure for them is a nutritious mix of food."
But Babineaux-Fontenot has hope, especially Thursday on Hunger Action Day.
She said the American people are generous, and she knows Kentuckians are at the top of that list, evidenced by the success of God's Pantry Food Bank over the past 65 years.
So during this most critical time, what can be done to help?
Babineaux-Fontenot said to start at home. Educate yourself on the work God's Pantry does, and then figure out your best way to help whether that be donating time, money or something else.
"Educate yourselves and then activate yourselves. That's what we're asking for, " Babineaux-Fontenot said.