Debbie Childress speaks at the Chamber of Commerce Membership Luncheon, explaining how the Grayson County Alliance helps feed the community and how the local businesses can help, too.

Debbie Childress speaks at the Chamber of Commerce Membership Luncheon, explaining how the Grayson County Alliance helps feed the community and how the local businesses can help, too.

Debbie Childress, Grayson County Alliance Director, spoke to local professionals and business owners at last Thursday's Grayson County Chamber of Commerce Luncheon about the variety of ways the Alliance helps feed the hungry citizens of Grayson County and how those present could help as well.

The luncheon was co-sponsored by the Grayson County Alliance and the City of Leitchfield. It was catered by Farmers Feedmill Restaurant.

According to Childress, the Alliance has been serving lower income families since the year 2000. Since that time, the pantry has provided 510,000 meals, which is 610,000 pounds of food.

She said, "One in six people are going hungry. We need to remember those that are hungry and those that are in need."

Childress said the Alliance helps to provide a hand up to help people move toward self-sufficiency.

The Grayson County Alliance partners with Feeding America-Kentucky's Heartland, United Way of Central Kentucky and The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.

Childress said the Alliance serves 685 families every month. She said they usually get 26 new families every month.

"Anyone can be affected by hunger. Life circumstances might change and you might find yourself in need of the food pantry's services until you are able to get back on your feet," Childress said.

The Alliance provides services based on age. They provide a senior box, food pantry, commodities, and backpack food.

According to Childress, the food pantry only provides about 10-15 percent of what families need.

"It is not enough to feed them all month," she said.

Childress said the food pantry serves more than 420 senior adults every month. She said the seniors typically eat less than they should or nothing at all. She said they are living on fixed incomes and are retirees that didn't save enough. According to Childress, seniors are provided the regular food pantry box, along with the senior box and commodities.

She said the backpack program currently serves 275 students from preschool to high school. According to Childress, the program helps to feed students for the weekends, when there is no school food available.

Childress said a donation of $120 per year provides food for one student for the entire school year.

According to Childress, the Alliance also receives 85,000 pounds of fresh produce. She said, "Anyone in Grayson County that has a need for fresh produce can get some."

She said last year they gave out 9,000 pounds of fresh produce from a mobile food pantry in Clarkson.

•2017 brought an end to the Grayson County Alliance Furniture Program. Childress said she from 2011 to 2017, 1,031 households were served by the furniture program. Childress felt that the program had done well and wants to begin a new project in the future.

•The Vita tax service has filed 84 free tax returns providing refunds totaling $113,000. This service is available to anyone who makes less than $54,000.

•The Alliance has 409 volunteers, who have put in over 12,000 hours on food pantry distributions and special events.

•Empty Bowls raised over $4,200.

•Art in the Park, a free community event will take place May 19 and 20.

•The 2018 Ducking Hunger Regatta raised $6,900.

•96 cents of every dollar donated to the Alliance goes to support families in need.

•WRECC donated $7,812.85 to the United Way of Central Kentucky.

Debbie Childress speaks at the Chamber of Commerce Membership Luncheon, explaining how the Grayson County Alliance helps feed the community and how the local businesses can help, too.

Photos by Amy Lindsey | GC News-Gazette

WRECC made a $7,812.85 donation to United Way of Central Kentucky.