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Full scale commodities program returns to Russell County
In July 23 Issue
By John Thompson
News-Register Reporter

Russell County will have a new commodities program beginning in August.

The Russell County Fiscal Court, along with the work of Lake Cumberland Area Development District and with the interest of many local churches, and God's Food Pantry, has partnered to bring the Feeding America program to the area.

Beginning on August 5, 2011, many food products will be distributed to those who meet USDA household eligibility. Feeding America is a non-profit group that has partnered with the USDA in order to provide food to families in need.

With the minimal investment of $225 a month paid by the county in order to pay for shipping costs of the food, up to 500 needy families can be fed.

The commodity giveaway takes place at the corner of East Hwy 76 and North Hwy 127, at the Highway 80 Auto Auction location from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. The August 5 date falls on a Friday, and every month thereafter the distribution date will fall on the Friday of the first full week in the month.

Barring any changes the schedule will be as follows for the remainder of the year, September 9, October 7, November 11 and December 9. If these dates, the 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. distribution time or distribution location changes, updates will be made in either the Times Journal or The Russell County News-Register.

To qualify you have to bring verification of residence (electric/phone bill), or if rent/electric is all paid to a landlord a statement from your landlord will suffice. You must also bring valid identification. Income is to be self proclaimed.

You are asked to bring your own bags, boxes or other method of carrying the groceries, as these items are unable to be provided.

Foods will be distributed to those who meet USDA household eligibility under the following guidelines: A household of one making less than $1,174 a month, a family of two making $1,579 monthly, with three in the household the income limit is $1,984 monthly and with four in the household the limit is $2,389 a month.

For each additional household member add $406 dollars to the four in the household limit. For example, five in household - $2,795 and six in the household is $3,201.

Verification of income is not required, but you will be asked to sign a statement saying that you do fall within the guidelines. As with any governmental program intentional fraud or abuse is subject to legal action.

Any person picking up food for someone else will need to sign a note containing all information to complete the application register. This note is to be produced monthly.

Persons receiving food allotments must live within Russell County.

Some commodity availability will change month to month. There is no word on how available "government cheese" will be, if it will be at all.

"They told us the cheese isn't likely," said Judge Executive Gary Robertson, "So if we ever do get any shipments I'd count us very lucky."

But there will be lots of staples, such as beans and rice, along with a lot of canned goods, like beef stew and tomatos or tomato juice. The commodities will change monthly depending on availability. Other items that will be available month to month, varying on availability are: apple juice, applesauce, apricots, asparagus, carrots, cereal (rice), corn, cranberry sauce, grapefruit juice, great north beans, green beans, macaroni, milk (dried), mixed fruit, orange juice, peaches, peanut butter, pears, pinto beans, pork (canned), rice, salmon, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, vegetable oil and vegetable soup.

While the list is not entirely all inclusive, these are the types of items you might be able to expect on a month to month basis.

"It's always a good thing when a community can get together and get behind a project that is definitely going to help families that are struggling, families in need," said Deputy Judge Executive Chris Ramsey.

According to Feeding America one in six Americans does not have enough access to food. Astonishingly, it's one in four children. A misconception that there are plenty of programs to take care of the nutritional needs of children exists, but more than 17 million of our nations children are living in "food-insecure" households, with food-insecurity being defined as the availability of food and one's access to it.

In 2009 that meant 43.6 million people, or 14.3 percent of the people living in poverty. The numbers are expected to be higher but this is the last numbers calculated.

The majority of those who struggle with hunger are not homeless or out of work. According to statistics provided by Feeding America as referenced through the U.S. Census Bureau, 10 percent of those struggling with hunger are homeless, and 36 percent have at least one working adult in the household.

The Feeding America mission and values are worthy, with the stated policy, values and mission statement.;

"We can influence our leaders to make hunger a priority"

The United States is the largest and most efficient food producer in the world, so the resources to solve the problem exist. Our public policy efforts focus on working with Congress, as well as state and local officials, to strengthen and expand the programs and solutions available to our nation's food insecure. Our goal is to support policies that help solve America's growing hunger crisis, while raising public awareness about the issues of hunger in our country.

Feeding America is the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Our mission is to feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.

Feeding America has adopted the following Statement of Values, which guides all of our actions and planning.

Respect

We respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person and treat all with justice, equity and compassion. We honor the lives, concerns and stories of people in need and expect our partners to do the same. We accept one another and encourage diversity of thoughts and ideas.

Stewardship and Accountability

We keep faith with the public trust through the efficient and compassionate use of resources entrusted to us and are mindful that our mission is accomplished through the generosity of others. We maintain and communicate accurate and timely information on hunger research, education, advocacy and service. We evaluate and account regularly for how resources are used to implement and achieve our mission.

Collaboration

We believe in the power of community. We collaborate and build strong relationships, based on trust, with and among those who share our vision of creating a hunger-free America. We work together to accomplish the vision at the national and local levels, valuing each other's roles and using an open process and honest communication. We seek out and are responsive to the input and counsel of our partners.

Urgency

We operate with an acute sense of urgency that reflects the immediate needs of people struggling with hunger. We challenge our employees, volunteers and partners to embrace the same sense of urgency to accomplish our shared vision.

Service

We believe service to others is fundamental to creating a hunger-free America. We serve with excellence, compassion and responsiveness to meet the needs of those with whom we work, internally and externally. The better we serve, the more people we bring together in commitment to our vision.

Integrity

We act with honesty, trust and openness and deliver on commitments. We act within the spirit of agreements, contracts and the law. Our intentions and actions will be transparent and above reproach.

Diversity

We believe that the ethnic, cultural and social diversity of our nation should be reflected in our staff, Board and network.

For those on the other end of the food security spectrum, you can help provide in your local community by donating time or money. By working closely with food suppliers and distributors, Feeding America can stretch the donated dollar to its maximum potential, with each dollar spent providing seven meals to people in need.

For more information on how you can help, go to www.feedingamerica.org.

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