|LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A new initiative to help food-insecure families across the state is bringing Kentucky Proud artisan cheese products to select Kroger grocery stores.
Kentucky Cheese Cares lets consumers join the fight against hunger by purchasing award-winning Kentucky specialty cheese products at participating Kroger locations. Fifty cents from each unit sold will be used to distribute Kentucky dairy products through the Feeding Kentucky food bank network.
“Some of Kentucky’s finest artisan cheeses will be available to fight hunger across the state,” Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “This is a winning combination. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is excited to be partnering in this opportunity to serve Kentuckians through this Kentucky Hunger Initiative project.”
Born from the concept of supplying cheese products to Kentucky’s food insecure families, this project found its roots this year. Kroger stepped in as a key operational partner as the state’s largest purchaser of Kentucky Proud products. Kentucky Cheese Cares began in select Kroger stores in October. Feeding Kentucky will receive fifty cents from each purchase. The funds will go directly to purchasing fresh Kentucky produced cheese products for the food banks Feeding Kentucky serves.
“We’re thrilled to see this initiative come to fruition to help food-insecure Kentuckians,” Feeding Kentucky’s Development Coordinator Whitney Wilgus said. “Now consumers can join the fight against hunger, all while enjoying delicious award-winning Kentucky cheeses and supporting dairy farmers right here in the Commonwealth.”
The new initiative will increase access to dairy products for food-insecure families, with the added benefit of supporting Kentucky dairy farmers. In the projects initial phase three dairies – Harvest Home Dairy out of Oldham County, Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese out of Barren County and Wildcat Mountain Cheese out of Laurel County – will be featured in the Kentucky Cheese Cares standalone coolers. The Dairy Alliance provided key support for the project by purchasing the cooler units.
“We are honored to partner with these organizations to help nourish those in need,” said Geri Berdak, chief executive officer of The Dairy Alliance. “Not only do dairy farmers care passionately about their cows, their land and the products they produce, they care about helping their communities.”
The standalone coolers will be featured in 10 Kroger stores across the state including Lexington, Louisville, Frankfort, Elizabethtown and Richmond.
“We are so excited about this program as it aligns perfectly with our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact campaign. We are committed to ending hunger in our communities and partnering with others on innovative solutions like Kentucky Cheese Cares,” said Erin Grant, Louisville Division Corporate Affairs Manager. “Our customers appreciate opportunities to purchase local and continually looking for simple ways to give back. This is a simple and tasty solution to do both.”
To further cement Kroger’s commitment to hunger relief, Ann Reed, Kroger’s Louisville Division President, presented a $10,000 check to Feeding Kentucky as part of Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan to end hunger in the communities it serves and eliminate waste across the company by 2025.
Kentucky Cheese Cares is a partnership between KDA, Kentucky dairy farmers, The Dairy Alliance, Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Kroger, Feeding America, and Feeding Kentucky.
To learn more about this program and view profiles of the dairy farms involved, go to feedingky.org/cheese.