Food pantry workers, food giveaway volunteers discuss need for food across the mountains

Hazard, Kentucky (WYMT) – At the New Hope Food Pantry in Hazard, volunteers prepare weekly food giveaways. But those with pantries said they have to prepare more now that their customers have grown exponentially in the last year.

Pastor John Kidwell of New Hope Church said, “Last year, that need increased by about 50 percent.” Last year, we provided nearly 5,300 food boxes. I’m pushing people.”

Volunteers said this increase in cars in pickup lines could be due to a variety of reasons.

“What we started to see in the last year or so is inflation started taking people to bonds and it increased because they couldn’t spend more on food because they had to spend more on fuel, heat and utilities. The number of people in need,” said Kidwell.

Kate’s Food Tent coordinator Kate Clemons said the flooding also set back many Eastern Kentuckians. Clemons doesn’t expect this need to go away anytime soon, she added.

“Eastern Kentucky has always had a need for food, but the floods have greatly increased it and made it difficult for people to seek help because we are almost six months old. Because people don’t realize that the need for food is still that important.It was the first day,” she said.

Clemons said he was successful in getting people to eat hot meals at Hindman Monday through Friday, but it’s the only continuous source of food for many Knott Countians, so they still get hungry on the weekends. I am worried about my family.

“Kids are out of school right now and on vacation. How many kids you know depend on the school system for hot meals?” Clemons said.

This prompted the Clemons to begin assembling food boxes for presents, but these plans were discontinued due to lack of proper storage and sufficient funds.

“When you can’t go to Hindman for ice, you need a food box so they have something to eat,” she said.

Both Kidwell and Clemons say that serving an increasing number of customers can often be resource taxing.

“We are also a little limited in the number of volunteers and the amount of donations, because unfortunately everything costs money. It takes time, effort and money,” says Kidwell.

Volunteers said the best way for these organizations to continue helping people is to continue helping each other.

“You never know when you will be a receiver instead of a giver. So if we are able to serve and give in a good manner, it will be easier for people to come and get the help they need.” Kidwell said.

The Food Pantry at New Hope Church hosts a food giveaway every Tuesday. Call the church at (606) 439-5116 to find out how you can support ministry efforts.

Kate’s Food Tent in Hindman aims to give away freebies every week. You can connect with Tent on Facebook.

Clemons collects items for the food box.She said these items can be brought into the Hazard Chamber of Commerce Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm.

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