• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Food pantry helping more families during uncertain days


The Food Pantry for Woodford County will have a record-setting month in terms of how many clients it’s served in March as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, according to Executive Director Sharon Hardin. The food pantry, which provides emergency food security for low income families, had already served 143 clients before its volunteers prepared groceries for pickup on Monday, March 30. The previous high for one month was 145 clients, Hardin said. “Right now, the inventory (of groceries) is doing very well,” she said. “There are things we’re getting low on, and if these kinds of numbers continue the … Letter Carrier Food Drive can’t get here fast enough.” The annual Letter Carrier Food Drive, held Mother’s Day weekend, is typically the second largest food drive of the year locally. Citing the generosity of local churches and others, Hardin described Woodford County as “awesome” when it comes to making sure families who face food insecurity are not doing without. One generous individual recently donated 50 Kroger gift cards for $15 each and a $250 gift card to buy more food to fill the food pantry’s shelves. “So that was a blessing,” said Hardin. Anyone who wants to support the Food Pantry for Woodford County’s mission may mail monetary donations to P.O. Box 1066, Versailles, KY 40383. Drive-thru update The drive-thru service for picking up groceries on Mondays (5 to 7 p.m.) and Thursdays (1 to 4 p.m.) is going very well, Hardin said. She said clients have been patient and very understanding that food pantry volunteers are being “safe for them and ourselves.” The number of volunteers, who now wear protective masks and gloves, has been reduced to seven in order to ensure they’re working at a safe distance from one another, Hardin said. Among the volunteers in recent weeks have been Laura Dake and her family. Julia Dake, younger brother Jimmy and their parents have volunteered on three occasions, including all four of them on a recent Monday, Laura Dake said. After hearing Woodford County Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler’s COVID-19 update to the Versailles City Council March 17 and the anticipated need for “strong backs” at the food pantry because of the likelihood of a greater need during an economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, Councilmember Dake said she volunteered her family’s help. “We’re really very grateful for what we have, and it’s a small way to be able to give back,” said Dake, who said she has been coordinating the local food pantry’s Scare Away Hunger Food Drive since Julia, now 23, was a Girl Scout. While Julia had to be reminded about Scare Away Hunger because “that was a long time ago,” she said volunteering at the food pantry allows her to do something worthwhile for families facing uncertain times because of the pandemic. “I wanted to feel like I was doing something for other people,” the 2014 Woodford County High School grad said. For Julia, who’s finishing her master’s degree at Eastern Kentucky University online after its in-person classes were cancelled, “The future’s kind of uncertain, but I’m hopeful …”

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