Project seeking signups for new McCreary food pantry assistance

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MCCREARY COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A new food bank has opened in southern Kentucky.

Christian Appalachian Project is accepting sign-ups for a new food pantry in Parkers Lake in McCreary County along the Tennessee state line starting April 26 through May 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

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Eligible families should register as soon as possible. The first food distribution will take place on May 18 at 100 Eagle School Road, Parkers Lake, Ky. During the sign-up process, please wear a mask and practice social distancing.

“McCreary County has one of the highest food insecurity rates in the state,” said Joseph Beaudoin, who will manage the new Eagle Food Pantry. “We are blessed to have two other food pantries in the county, but the numbers are overwhelming. We anticipate nearly 800 families may need pantry assistance.”

Roughly 93 percent of families in McCreary County are eligible for income-based nutrition programs. Even with those numbers, many children and seniors still are unsure of where their next meal will come from.

The food insecurity rate in the county is 30.7 percent and surrounding counties average 23.6 percent food insecurity rate, these are some of the highest numbers in the state.

“While we might not be able to help everyone at first,” Beaudoin said, “we are going to make every effort to help as many as we can and grow ourselves to the point where we can assist all those that come to us in need.”

Beaudoin and his staff will be working to get the pantry fully operational and develop partnerships in the community to reach as many children and their families, as well as seniors who need access to nutritious food.

There are no grocery stores in the Parkers Lake area so the community must rely on prepackaged foods or fast-food style meals that are available.

“After we get established, we plan to partner with local schools to assist with the school backpack program like our sister site Grateful Bread Food Pantry in Mount Vernon,” he said.

“These backpacks are essential for providing our school-age children meals on the weekends when they may not have enough food at home.”

Beaudoin and his team will be assessing the operational capacity with pantry items, but also plan to distribute commodity food boxes to seniors in the community.

They will collaborate with CAP’s Elderly Services Program to make sure that the pantry is able to provide seniors with the food they need.

Volunteers are welcome to help check people in, prepare and distribute pantry boxes, or unload trucks to stock the pantry.

If interested in volunteering or need information about how to sign up, contact Joseph Beaudoin at 606.376.3272.