By Kay Cosby Jones
Special to the Register
The face of hunger may surprise you. Some are older, others younger. Often, they are children. All are Madison County people with the most basic of needs — food for themselves and their families.
God’s Outreach Madison County Food Bank has grown from humble beginnings 13 years ago to its new facility at 1512 E. Main St. This building was built with a $315,000 federal block grant and matching fund assistance from the county and city governments of $15,000 each.
This truly has been a community effort with countless volunteers, having donated goods, services, excavating, electric and building man hours and supplies, all being top of the line, quality workmanship. God’s Outreach also receives donated accounting, legal services, printing design, and some office supplies.
October is Hunger Awareness month. God’s Outreach Food Bank is one of the the largest single distributing food bank in the state, serving 1,400 families monthly. It also helps send 1,350 school kids home each weekend with backpacks filled with food. This provides children from 14 school with food for two meals and snacks. No one is turned away when first presenting.
All that is required of recipients of food from God’s Outreach is a valid I.D. or paper with name and address stating they are a Madison County resident in need of food. This is an emergency food bank and asks that you come only when you have true need and only one visit per household every 30 days. There is limited flexibility for emergencies. The hours of operation are 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
This growing operation is staffed primarily with volunteer. They collect and sort food, pack the bags, log people in and perform many other tasks. God’s Outreach Food Bank operates with only one full and one part-time employee.
“We have done an impossible task, with God’s help,” says Anthony Lowery, director. Anthony and wife Linda both came from humble beginnings and have dedicated their lives to feeding the hungry families around them. With its new facility, God’s Outreach Food Bank is out of the building phase and on to the growth and service phase.
On Thursday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m. First Lady Jane Beshear, along with Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes and County Judge/Executive Kent Clark, will attend a ribbon cutting for God’s Outreach Food Bank assisted by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.
This day has been long awaited and will be an event we can all rejoice in and support with our attendance.
Funding for the food bank is ongoing. No local, state, or federal funds are part of its operational budget. They are totally dependent on food and monetary donations to pay for their mortgage and costs of the food they purchase for ongoing programs.
This Christmas there are a couple of ways for the community to help those less fortunate. “Give the Gift of Food” is a Christmas card that would, for your donation of $25 or more, be given with the December distribution of food to the families and bear your family’s name as giver.
Donations should be sent to PO Box 1226 , Richmond, KY 40476-1226. The phone number is 859-623-2220. The website is www.GodsOutreach.com. Some churches are sponsoring a gift box for donations with a “birthday party for Jesus” theme.
God’s Outreach Food Pantry has a need list that includes grant writer, printer ink, printer paper, dishes for kitchen, printing, design, new crockpots for cooking lessons, a phone system, steam table, locked file cabinet, cabinet for supplies.
Other ways to get involved include calling, mailing or going online to make a tax-deductible donation. You also may invite a representative to come to your church or organization to share the God’s Outreach vision, arrange a fund-raiser, volunteer in one or more of their programs or organize a food drive.
God’s Outreach Food Bank serves all of Madison County. Please step up with food, money, or volunteer your time. There are hungry families here. Missionaries come in all shapes and sizes.
Won’t you help and then come celebrate the ribbon cutting Nov. 15 at 2 p.m.