Working to solve hunger problem in west Kentucky

Once a month, Terry Livingston sifts through a bunch of boxes to find groceries for his family. It’s not a super market, but a food pantry.

"I’m on low income," says Livingston. "I’m on disability, and by the time you pay the car payment, everything, the rent and all that, you just don’t have any money left."

Livingston’s family depends on food from the pantry to get through the day.

Clay Black is the food bank coordinator for the Purchase Area Development District, which serves eight counties in west Kentucky.

"We work tirelessly, because we know what we’re doing is helping these people," says Black.

Every week, Black says 45,000 to 50,000 pounds of food leaves the warehouse and goes to local pantries to feed hungry people in our area. That’s 21,000 people a month. Out of that, 57 percent say they have to choose between paying for food or paying for medical care. Another 57 percent say they have to choose between paying for food or paying their utility bills.

Kentucky Department of Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is searching for new ways to combat hunger in the commonwealth.

"We’re having a series of meetings around the state to listen and learn about the unique aspects of hunger in that area of the state, so we can develop a statewide strategic plan to present to policy makers," says Quarles.

For Livingston, this could mean even more food for his family.

Quarles says he wants to hear from you. Click here to share your ideas on how to combat hunger in west Kentucky.

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