Floyd County focused on keeping community fed

Published: Mar. 26, 2020 at 6:45 PM EDT
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Food insecurity is the latest focus of the Floyd County Fiscal Court.

During a special-called meeting Thursday, Judge-Executive Robbie Williams said more than 2,000 people in Floyd County are now out of work thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's gonna take a little time to get things back on track. So we want to do our part to help out," said Williams. "We created this emergency fund when we first came into office last year and it's paid dividends for the folks of Floyd County."

The court voted to reallocate $200,000 from the emergency fund into the general fund to be used as a safety net for the county's eight food pantries and senior citizen meal delivery programs.

"The food pantries and our senior citizens' programs, we think, is the two organizations that we can work with to get some additional folks fed," Williams said.

According to Williams, there are no immediate dangers in the feeding programs but the decision is about thinking ahead.

"To me, it's a precautionary measure," he said. "We don't know where we're gonna be in three weeks. We don't know that we're gonna be able to have a meeting in three weeks."

The St. James Episcopal Church Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry in Prestonsburg is one of the pantries that will benefit from the decision. The overseers of the pantry say this extra help could not come at a better time.

"Shelves are bear back there and we probably have 60 to 80 people this coming week. We're not ready for them," said pantry site manager Ronald Rohr.

Judy Yunker, pastor of St. James Episcopal Church, said the number of families served by the pantry has increased almost double since the beginning of the pandemic.

"Some of our people are getting $18 a month in food stamps," said Yunker. "For an elderly man or woman, that's not enough."

She said the extra funding from the county would help the pantry continue its mission to serve the area.

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