Study shows some Kentucky children more likely to face hunger than rest of U.S.

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God's Pantry Food Bank
God's Pantry Food Bank

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- A new study from Feeding America shows children in Central and Eastern Kentucky are more likely to face hunger than the rest of America.

The study shows food insecurity exists in every county served by God’s Pantry Food Bank.

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The child food insecurity rate is 20.7% compared to 16.2% for the overall population in Central and Eastern Kentucky. That is about 70,000 children facing hunger, according to the study.

The highest percentage of childhood hunger is in Magoffin county at 22.5%.

The analysis also finds 27% of food insecure people in Central and Eastern Kentucky who are food insecure are likely ineligible for federal nutrition assistance under current program requirements.

“The food and support resources we offer through more than 400 local food pantries and meal programs in Central and Eastern Kentucky are working,” said Michael Halligan, CEO for God’s Pantry Food Bank.   “While we’ve seen a slight decrease in food insecurity over the past year we know our work is not done.  There are still nearly 250,000 people, including more than 70,000 children in our area who may not know when or from where their next meal will come.”

“There isn’t a single state or county in America free from child hunger, and it is within our collective power to change that and ensure that today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, chief executive officer of Feeding America. “The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks is investing in our nation’s future by helping to provide over 146 million meals to children every year. Still, Map the Meal Gap highlights that more must be done. Together food banks, corporations, policymakers, donors, volunteers and advocates can solve hunger.”

Babineaux-Fontenot encourages people to learn more about hunger in their communities by visiting the Feeding America website.

She also says you can help by telling lawmakers to invest in kids during Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation and increase access to food for kids during the summer.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!