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Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles makes stop in Hazard, discusses food insecurity

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 1:29 PM EDT
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PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles made a stop in Perry County on Wednesday.

During his visit, he said food insecurity in Eastern Kentucky is higher than at the national level. Local leaders and organizations met to discuss how the state can help fight food insecurity with topics including the need to add more space to host food pantries, as well as planning more food box giveaways.

“One thing we learned about Perry County is that they actually need a physical space to run a food pantry,” said Commissioner Quarles. “Also they’re in need of freezers and cooling capacities as well, so fortunately we do have some donors, I think that are going to be able to help out with this, so I look forward to coming back with some good news.”

The state is seeing an increase of 30% in Kentuckians using food banks. Commissioner Quarles added one in seven Kentuckians was considered food insecure before the pandemic.

“As Kentucky hopefully gets back on its feet, sooner rather than later, we know that the need is real and especially for our children,” he said. “If a child is trying to learn at home, if they don’t have access to nutrition, learning may be the last thing on their mind, so we’re trying to learn from this past year.”

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