Last April, when the Elizabethtown-based Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland nonprofit organization bumped up its monthly food distribution events in Warren County from one to three, it was viewed as a short-term change to address a need brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nine months later, Feeding America is still doing the enhanced food distributions in partnership with United Way of Southern Kentucky and the Warren County Parks and Recreation Department.

January’s Feeding America distributions in Warren County start Monday with an event from 9 to 11 a.m. at Ephram White Park. On Wednesday, food boxes will be distributed at Buchanon Park on Nashville Road from 9 to 11 a.m. The month’s final Feeding America event will be held Wednesday, Jan. 27, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Lampkin Park.

Before the pandemic, Feeding America was delivering about 500 boxes of food during each monthly event at Lampkin Park. Now it is consistently handing out that much or more at each of the three events.

The boxes, which typically contain enough food to feed a family of four for a week, continue to be in great demand as unemployment remains high.

“Across the board, Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland has seen a 20 percent increase in demand for our services since March 2020,” said Jaime Thomas, director of communications and marketing for the Elizabethtown nonprofit. “More people than ever are visiting food pantries, many for the first time in their lives. Families with small children are hit especially hard.”

As the largest of the 42 counties served by the Elizabethtown Feeding America office, Warren County was chosen to receive the extra visits shortly after Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency in March.

“Because of the number of food insecure people in that county, we quickly had to implement two emergency mobile food pantries to provide additional food,” Thomas said. “Fortunately, we have two incredible partners with United Way and Warren County Parks and Recreation. They have assisted us from the beginning by providing two great locations, staff and volunteers to make these mobile food pantries happen.”

The three monthly visits will continue for at least a few more months, Thomas said.

“We offer these two extra distributions to help fill in some of the gaps because the need has grown so much,” she said. “That need will be reevaluated in April to determine whether the extra distributions still are necessary.”

Despite beefing up the food distributions in Warren County and other areas it serves, Feeding America isn’t yet facing a food shortage.

“We’ve been lucky in that we have plenty of food to provide to those dealing with food insecurity,” Thomas said. “Through government commodities, donations of both food and money, and our purchasing power as a food bank, we have been able to consistently handle the increased need across our 42 counties. At no time have we been at risk of running out of food. Our warehouses continue to be stocked and ready for distribution.”

Thomas said Feeding America has already scheduled its visits to Warren County through April.

In February, food distributions are scheduled for 9-11 a.m. Feb. 8 at Ephram White Park, 9-11 a.m. Feb. 10 at Buchanon Park and 8:30-11:30 a.m. Feb.24 at Lampkin Park.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

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