KY National Guard helping at God’s Pantry

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — Kentucky National Guard troops began helping out Monday at four food banks across the state, including God’s Pantry in Lexington.

God’s Pantry Food Bank says the need to feed the state’s seniors, families and the unemployed is greater than ever.

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“So, what we’ve seen thus far across central and eastern Kentucky is about a 35% increase in need for those that are food insecure,” says the food bank’s CEO Michael Halligan.

And, the food bank says many of those are new recipients.

“Some of it is folks who are food insecure for the first time due to loss of job or a furlough or whatever their circumstances may be,” says Halligan.

Halligan says in some counties they serve, the need has increased by a staggering 80%. That’s why the Kentucky National Guard is desperately needed.

“What the national guard allows us to do is to provide more resources, more assistance to a quarter of a million people who are at-risk of hunger in central and eastern Kentucky and to do it in a much more efficient way,” says Halligan.

The guard is sorting and packing food into boxes, helping distribute it in a behind-the-scenes effort.

“We’re assembling boxes that include a full meal for a family and it has an assortment of canned goods, dry, beans and rice, also cereals and assorted sweets,” says Lt. Robert Moore with the Kentucky National Guard.

It’s a job the guard members don’t take lightly.

“A lot of the people who we’re helping, they need food today and we’re hoping we can give it to them tomorrow,” says Lt. Moore.

The food bank says with a team of the same people doing the same job, productivity is a lot higher.

Lt. Moore says there’s around 20 in the platoon, working eight hour days, and right now, they’re averaging about 300 boxes an hour.

“It’s exciting for us to be able to help out and actually know we signed up to make a difference and to know we’re helping,” says Lt. Moore.

The team is scheduled to be deployed here for the next two weeks.

God’s Pantry Food Bank has taken a big hit financially during the coronavrius pandemic. Halligan says they’ll likely have to purchase $750,000 of food just to get them through the next thirty days.

If you would like to donate to the food bank, click here.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.