Nourish Lexington makes push to raise funds for 65,000 meals

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Nourish Lexington is made up of furloughed hospitality workers who are now making meals

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — There are students and senior citizens in this community who won’t sit down to a dinner tonight and they’ll go to bed hungry.

That’s why during this Hunger Awareness Month a Lexington non-profit is asking for your help.

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Nourish Lexington is more than halfway to the goal of raising $450,000, which should be enough money to provide approximately 65,000 meals through the remainder of 2020.

The vast majority of donations have come from large organizations or foundations. Now the group is hoping to tap into smaller donations — $25, $50, $75 or $100 — to help reach its goal.

Organizers say it is an especially important time since it is unlikely that another round of federal stimulus funds would pass anytime soon.

“A small gift from many people can really make a big impact and not just an impact on somewhere on the other side of the planet but to a street right around the corner from you that you just might not expect has a person that might not know where their next meal is coming from,” says Becca Self, FoodChain executive director.

Nourish Lex kicked off its effort earlier this month.

“This community-wide problem needs a community-wide solution,” Self said. “We can’t expect the entire burden to rest with institutions like Fayette County Public Schools or emergency food providers. Plus, we’re so fortunate to have so much local food expertise in our midst, from growers to chefs and everything in between.

“While virtual learning cuts off many students and families from needed resources and limited community gatherings puts a strain on congregate meal options, Nourish Lexington is ready to help fill the gaps and traverse the barriers to ensure students and their families receive nutritious food,” Self added.

“Every feeding program will have gaps, but Nourish Lexington makes connections between other food resources and trusted providers to make exponential gains in providing sustenance to families in need.”

For example, Nourish Lexington can complement the efforts of FCPS on days when meals aren’t being served and in areas where students don’t live close to a FCPS meal site or have access to transportation.

Similarly, many seniors who already struggle with limited transportation have found their options for accessing meals drastically diminished.

“The pandemic has presented enormous challenges to our community – challenges that continue to change along with the cases of COVID-19,” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “One of those challenges has been ensuring that our most vulnerable citizens have access to nutritious food. We are grateful to FoodChain and Nourish Lexington – partners that have stepped up to help. Lexington, if you’re able to support them, they can use your help.”

To help kick off this next phase, Nourish has already received donations from the following:

  • $100,000 from the Coronavirus Response Fund, a partnership of United Way of the Bluegrass and Blue Grass Community Foundation
  • $50,000 from the Murry Family Foundation
  • $30,000 from the Kroger Company’s Zero Hunger Initiative
  • $25,000 from the Jenna and Matthew Mitchell Family Foundation
  • $10,000 from the MacAdam Early Childhood and Literacy Fund at BGCF

Since the initiative began in early April, Nourish Lexington has distributed more than 150,000 meals to people who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. It also has provided more than $45,000 in wages/stipends for food service workers and purchased more than 25,000 pounds of fresh produce from local farmers.

More than $330,000 has been raised from the community – plus another $170,000 from outside resources – since the pandemic started, but Self said the need continues.

“Community support has been tremendous, but we all need to redouble our efforts for the long haul as the virus continues to negatively impact the economy, schools and well-being of our families and children,” Self said. “We urge Lexington residents and businesses, which have been so generous with their resources, to continue to support this effort.”

To learn more about this effort and help feed members of our community who need it most, visit the new website, www.nourishlexington.org, where you can view a new video that was created and donated by Studio46 Media. To give directly, visit https://bgcf.givingfuel.com/nourishfund.