FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 28, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear signed a proclamation declaring Jan. 28, 2021, as Hunger Free Day in Kentucky and made a surprise donation to the group Feeding Kentucky of nearly $16,000 left over from the Beshear-Coleman inaugural fund.
During a virtual event Thursday morning, the Governor praised the advocates and workers on the front line helping to make sure Kentucky families stay fed, work made tougher by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the best of times, your work is daunting. During COVID, it has been nothing short of heroic,” Gov. Beshear said. “The entire commonwealth owes you all a debt of gratitude but also – crucially – more than just words of thanks. Your efforts deserve our full support.”
Gov. Beshear made a surprise announcement during Thursday’s event with hunger organizations and advocates that he was donating $15,673 leftover from the Beshear-Coleman inaugural fund to Feeding Kentucky, an organization that helps feed Kentuckians in need. Remaining inaugural funds can only be donated to 501(c)(3) charitable organizations.
“This donation is another sign of my commitment to fighting hunger and my administration’s belief in you, our indispensable Team Kentucky partners,” the Governor said.
“We are grateful for Gov. Beshear’s continued support of Feeding KY and the one in 5 Kentuckians we serve,” said Karena Cash, advocacy coordinator for Feeding Kentucky. “The Governor’s generous donation today will help ensure that no family in Kentucky has to go to bed hungry tonight, or any night.”
“Gov. Beshear’s generous donation comes at a challenging time for our Feeding KY network of food banks and the Kentuckians we serve,” said Kurt Reiber, CEO of the Freestore Foodbank and board chair of Feeding Kentucky. “We hope that the Governor’s gift will inspire others to support Feeding Kentucky and the work we do.”
Gov. Beshear said that the work of Feeding Kentucky and other groups is crucial, with 600,000 Kentuckians relying on food from such organizations. In addition, he also noted that one in six Kentucky households with children experiences food insecurity. Kentucky also has the highest rate of food insecurity among adults ages 50 to 59.
Gov. Beshear highlighted the help his administration has worked to provide during the pandemic. P-EBT benefits have been provided to over 640,000 students. Those benefits totaled $288 million to provide meals to children who depend on school meals for their daily nutrition.
At the same time, Gov. Beshear’s administration provided SNAP benefits to an average of 100,000 more individuals each month compared with the previous year. SNAP is the first line of defense in Kentucky, and almost 70% of SNAP participants in Kentucky are in families with children. More than a third are in families with a senior or someone with a disability.
The benefits paid out over the final eight months of the last year were double the amount in 2019. In all, over $1 billion of SNAP benefits were provided to families, helping keep food on their tables while also helping local groceries stay open.
In addition, as of Jan. 11, more than 3 million meals had been served to Kentucky’s seniors since the start of the pandemic.