New food bank to help address food desert

God's Pantry Food Bank has opened a pantry in the Northside Branch of the Lexington Public Library

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A new food bank on Lexington’s northside will make fresh fruits and vegetables more accessible to people without a reliable food source. God’s Pantry Food Bank has opened a pantry inside the Northside Branch of the Lexington Public Library, where people in the Winburn and Hollow Creek communities can look around and take home the food that they need.

God’s Pantry says this is its first location that does not require a referral or appointment. People can come into the library, head back to the food bank and look around for fresh produce, meats, dairy products and some general household items too. The food bank is open Monday through Friday between noon and 2 P.M.

“I just invite people to come down and take a look,” says Heather Dieffenbach, Lexington Public Library executive director. “It really is an innovative food pantry, it makes you feel like you’re in a grocery store, it makes you feel comfortable and respected. It gives dignity to the community.”

According to God’s Pantry, one in six people in central and eastern Kentucky don’t know where their next meal will come from. Tiffany Brown, equity and implementation officer for Lexington, says many areas are what she calls food deserts which is when the closest grocery store is over a mile from your home.

“Fayette County pretty much is a food desert,” says Brown. “We only have about 12 supermarkets in Lexington-Fayette County so the closest supermarket for like the Winburn and Hollow Creek area, this neighborhood, would be the Walmart across New Circle Road.”

God’s Pantry says people in the northside community tell them some people have to travel an hour and a half by bus to get to other food bank locations. So, the idea to bring a pantry to the northside was born.

The library says many people in the community already come in to use its other services like computers or get help applying to jobs, so they say it just made sense to build the food bank inside.

“Meeting our neighbors where they are, being close to their home where they can walk, ride a bike,” says Mary Alice Daniels, Fayette County Pantry Program Manager. “Families are here and a lot of times they’re also families that may need some food.”

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