Free food helps recepients stretch their budgets

November 04, 2004|KATIE McBRIDE

One box of food can go a long way if you're on the Commodities Supplemental Food Program.

The program provides food to low-income senior citizens and children under age 6, pregnant women, infants, and postpartum mothers up to the baby's first birthday if they aren't receiving Women, Infants and Children benefits. Administered by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the program feeds 240 people in Boyle County.

Those on the program visit the National Guard Armory once a month to pick up two boxes of cereal, three cans of juice, four cans of vegetables, two cans of fruit, three cans of cream, a can of meat, peanut butter, 2 pounds of cheese, powdered milk, 2 pounds of pasta, and occasional extras such as potatoes or trail mix. The Department of Agriculture wants the supplement to be nutritional and provide the basis for a balanced diet.

Roger Trent, public health director with the Boyle County Health Department, says, "People are very glad to get this food. It adds quite a bit to their purchasing power.


"We feel like it's a very needed program in the community. That's why I started it back in '99," explains Trent.

The staff and volunteers working with the commodities program enjoy the chance to work with people in the community and make a difference. Woody Stigall, a retired Boyle County Road Department employee, says, "I love working with people in need. Even though I'm retired, I still want to help."

Mary Dye, one of the program's recipients, says, "It helps a whole lot when you're on a fixed income."

Callie Hundley, a recipient of the program, says "It's really great. I live off this stuff."

Dorothy Coontz also relies on this program.

"I don't get no help. I couldn't do without it," she says.

Health department staff and volunteers work together to prepare the food boxes. The last Thursday of the month they go to God's Pantry in Lexington to pick up the food, then return to the armory to separate the food into boxes. Those qualifying for the commodities stop by the armory from 8 a.m. to noon that Friday to collect their food. Help is needed throughout the process, from picking up the food to loading it into the recipients' vehicles.

"We could use all the volunteers we can get," says Rusty Cox, bioterrorism coordinator with the Boyle County Health Department.

"Without county and staff assistance, this wouldn't be possible," explains Trent. "We'd be glad to have people help us."

Due to the holidays, the next distribution day is Nov. 19. If you would like to help, or think you could be eligible for the program, contact Trent at (859) 236-2053.

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