Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, helps pack bags Monday during a bi-partisan food drive for those in need.

FRANKFORT — A bipartisan group of Kentucky lawmakers joined forces Monday to pack more than 2,000 bags of food for Kentucky children at risk of hunger as a hat tip and encouragement to ailing House Majority Leader John “Bam” Carney.

Tamara Sandberg, executive director of Feeding Kentucky, a consortium of seven food banks, said they were packing 2,100 bags of food for children in 18 schools and Head Start programs around the state who had been identified as being in need.

“Our goal is three meals and two snacks per bag,” she told the lawmakers while they were bagging. “Thank you for doing something to address the hunger that one in five Kentucky school children face.”

The food, which included canned goods, juice, pudding and other items, was donated by Molina Healthcare.

House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, said the idea to come together was because of Carney, who has been hospitalized since before Christmas.

“As you all know, this was something that was conceived and crafted by Senate President Robert Stivers and House Majority Leader Bam Carney,” he said. “Obviously, we know that Bam is still recuperating in the hospital and we continue to keep him in our thoughts and prayers.”

Rather than cancel or postpone the event due to Carney’s illness, members from both parties in both chambers came together in a committee meeting room at the Capitol Annex to help “Back Packs 4 Bam” become a reality.

As for how the Campbellsville republican is doing, Osborne said, “I understand they did another procedure on him this [Monday] morning. He is still in very, very serious condition.”

In Carney’s absence, his floor duties are being performed by Rep. David Meade, R-Stanford, who also serves as Speaker Pro Tem. Osborne says they will decide weekly if that will continue. “It’s still kind of up in the air how long he’s going to be in the hospital and whether or not he’ll be able to return this session.”

The 2020 General Assembly session runs through April 15.

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