Administrators at God’s Pantry are looking for ways to reach more people in Perry County, as it is the most under-served area in its region.
Marian Guinn, God’s Pantry’s chief-executive officer, and Mandy Brajuha, external relations director, recently discussed the need for donations in order to help more people.
God’s Pantry has been around for 57 years. The organization started out strictly serving Lexington, but as the idea of banking food became popular in America, God’s Pantry began storing food and working with organizations in Eastern Kentucky to serve a much larger group of people.
Today, they work with 275 different organizations to bring food to counties in Kentucky. They are a partner with Feeding America, and supply around 211,000 people in Kentucky with food each year through local pantries and non profits, backpack programs for students, and churches that act as distribution points.
Currently, they work with eight nonprofits in Perry County, though they are still looking to join forces with many more.
“We track everything that we are doing and set kind of minimum service standard goals for every county in our service area, and we do that based on a pounds per person in poverty,” said Guinn. Based on these numbers, Perry County is being under served.
God’s Pantry looks to provide 45 pounds of food per each person in poverty in the county. However, in Perry County they are currently only supplying 38.
According to Guinn and Brajuha, this is because their service works like most online shopping. Partner organizations order food online and it is dropped off to them on one of God’s Pantry’s trucks. From there it is distributed to those in need.
While each of the individual pantries and nonprofits are being satisfied with food, more of them are needed to reach more people.
Guinn said that they are looking to find more partner organizations. She said this doesn’t necessarily mean the formation of a new nonprofit, but possibly just the expansion into food service for some, and possibly just using more available resources for others.
God’s Pantry works with federal grants and food programs as well as private and corporate donations. They are able to make food available to nonprofits for a fraction of the cost of the food, or even for free.
“Last year Perry County agencies accessed food that was worth about $418,000 and the cost to them was only $9,400,” noted Brajuha.
In order for nonprofits to have access to the extremely affordable food, supplies and money must be available to God’s Pantry. Currently, they receive 40 percent of their funding and food from federal programs. Due to national cutbacks, however, they fear that nearly all of this funding could go away.
Because of this concern, God’s Pantry has been hosting a capital campaign for several years. As this campaign comes to a close, they continue to need funding.
One Perry County company that has been an important part of helping God’s Pantry in its mission is Pine Branch Coal Sales. Recently, the owners of the company traveled to Winchester for the naming of a food distribution center honoring the company for all of their donations and help.
The naming ceremony for the God’s Pantry Food Bank Pine Branch Coal Food Distribution Center was held on June 11. This space was acquired by the pantry in 2010, and used capital funds to make the center available to hold thousands of pounds of food.
To find out more about giving or getting your nonprofit involved in receiving the benefits of being a partner organization got to www.godspantry.org.