Imagine knowing that as many as 2,000 families in your community were hungry. Then imagine that you had the resources for a pantry—food and willing hands—but they all had to fit into a space the size of your family room.
Welcome to Paul Huber’s world circa 2016.
Paul has served as executive director of the Jessamine County Food Pantry since 2012. He knew the pantry wasn’t meeting the community’s needs by being open just once a week, but there was never enough. Not enough space, not enough volunteers, not enough food.
That recently changed.
A group of churches joined together to add hands. The Nicholasville Christian Church made more space available. God’s Pantry Food Bank and a Walmart-Feeding America grant provided coolers and food safety equipment. The Food Bank, local grocers, and neighborhood businesses made more food available.
The community that has joined around this effort came together on January 2 for the Jessamine County Food Pantry’s ribbon cutting in its new bigger and brighter space that has three rooms and is wheelchair accessible.
“It’s been just amazing,” said Paul. “There’s no reason anyone should go hungry in Jessamine County. We’re here to help people. We’re getting more food to the families that need the food.”
Now for the first time the Jessamine County Food Pantry will have three sessions per week: Tuesdays noon to 3 p.m., Thursdays 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday 9 a.m.-noon. Now clients can shop the pantry like a grocery store and choose what items they need and want to take home. Now there are coolers and freezers and produce and canned goods and many hands to help.
Max Vanderpool, pastor of Generations Community Church and a pantry board member said Paul “built all the right relationships” in town. At least eight churches are engaged with volunteers and multiple businesses have been doing food drives since November. The Chamber of Commerce is helping spread the word.
As many as 9,100 Jessamine County residents live at or below the poverty line and could suffer from food insecurity. Now more of them can find help at the Jessamine County Food Pantry.
“We’re all about getting as much food to people in Jessamine County as we can,” said Paul.
Paul Huber with God’s Pantry Food Bank Food Sourcing Coordinator, Linda Golebiewski