Feeding Kentucky buys 10,000 pounds of Purnell’s Sausage

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – More than 10,000 pounds of Kentucky Proud Sausage is feeding the hungry during COVID-19, across the state and to nearby Ohio and West Virginia.

Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles says the sausage comes from “Old Folks” headquartered in Simpsonville.

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It’s made possible through a $500,000 donation from Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Mutual Insurance Company as part of the state’s Hunger Initiative.

“Vulnerable Kentuckians affected by this global pandemic now have more access to the one and only Kentucky Proud Purnell’s ‘Old Folks’ sausage,” said Quarles.

Quarles says the donation is the largest single private donation made as part of the effort since the initiative launched in 2016, “When we started the Kentucky Hunger Initiative years ago, the goal was to build a network to connect farmers and agribusinesses to Kentucky’s food bank system.”

“Like many Kentuckians, I am saddened by the crop destruction and commodity waste we are seeing due to our economy being shut down,” Commissioner Quarles added. “While we cannot promise a solution for every producer, this story illustrates how Kentucky’s ag community is committed to doing the best we can with the resources we have to maintain the supply chain for our farmers and consumers.”

The pork sausage was picked up by Dare To Care Food Bank in Louisville, Kentucky Tuesday, where Commissioner Quarles assisted the food bank’s volunteers in unloading the shipment. The product will be distributed to hungry Kentuckians by way of Dare To Care; Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland in Elizabethtown; Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati, which serves northern Kentucky; Tri-State Foodbank in Evansville, which serves Owensboro; Facing Hunger Foodbank in Huntington, West Virginia, which serves eastern Kentucky; and the Paducah Area Development District.

“Thanks to Purnell’s ‘Old Folks’ Sausage, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Feeding Kentucky, we see a wonderful example of what it means to lend a helping hand as a collective community,” said Mark Haney, president of Kentucky Farm Bureau.

The Kentucky Hunger Initiative was launched in 2016 by Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles to bring together farmers, charitable organizations, faith groups, community leaders, and government entities to reduce hunger in Kentucky. You can read more HERE.

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Erica joins the ABC 36 family as a Co-Anchor of Good Morning Kentucky weekday mornings from 5am-7am with Cody Adams and Good Day Kentucky weekday mornings from 9am to 10am. Erica also anchors News at Midday from 12-12:30pm. She is also a Web and Social Media Content Producer. Erica graduated in three and a half years from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and specialization in Women, Gender and Social Justice. Although she hails from Michigan, Erica has worked as a News Reporter/Sports Anchor for the CBS-affiliate in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to that, she worked for a PBS-affiliate there covering all types of news – even providing live reports for The Weather Channel during her first hurricane. She then moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana and worked as the Weekend Anchor/Reporter at KPLC, the NBC/FOX/CW affiliate. Erica comes to Lexington from the Huntington area where she worked at WSAZ, an NBC/CW affiliate in West Virginia, as a weekday evening anchor covering the tri states of Ohio and Kentucky as well. In addition to her background on TV, Erica has worked in radio, served as the PA announcer for the Class A "Lansing Lugnuts" and hosted Carnival parades in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some of her favorite hobbies include running, reading, hiking, spending time with her husband and taking pictures of their furbabies. Erica is big on community involvement, having served as a board member for Dress for Success, volunteered as a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters, worked on the Mayor's Armed Forces Commission in Lake Charles and hosted countless events. She hopes you can connect with her on Facebook: EricaBivensTV and on Twitter: @ericabivens or Instagram: erica.bivens. You can also email her at ebivens@wtvq.com. Please send all event inquiries via email. Erica is excited to explore Lexington and the outdoors and - of course - meet all of you!