Requests for emergency food baskets in Fayette County have fallen slightly over the past year. God's Pantry director Marian Guinn says the per month requests have gone, on average, from about 1660 to 1600. Still, the number of people seeking help from the region’s best known food bank has nearly doubled since 2007. So, a plea is going out for volunteers to establish new food drives.
Four years ago, some 900 Fayette county families received food assistance from God’s Pantry. A new survey released by the Lexington-based non-profit sets the current figure at about 16 hundred. The Pantry's "State of Hunger" survey says it takes over 161 thousand pounds of food each month to stock the five Lexington food pantries. God’s Pantry director Marian Guinn says a small portion of that food come from food drives. Much of it is purchased with money donated to the Pantry. To meet demand, she says they must revolutionize the meaning of the modern food drive.
“For that to happen, you’ve got to do more than just post a sign and put out a barrel. You’ve got to really be talking, if it’s a workplace food drive with your employees, about what the needs are in this community and how critical this food is,” said Guinn.
The survey states the region needs to increase the number and size of food drives. Currently, most of the food distributed by God's Pantry is purchased. Linda Lancaster, who oversees the five satellite pantries in Lexington, says it's a regional problem.
“But it’s not enough food, not even for Fayette county. And you think we cover 50 counties. This covers the pantries here in Lexington is our main focus with this hunger study. But, it gives you a picture of the other 50 counties too. I mean, those agencies out there who get food from us, we have less food for them too,” added Lancaster.
In addition to increasing financial contributions, Lancaster says businesses or churches could stage more food drives. The state of hunger survey was conducted earlier this spring.