According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap 2015 report, 16.4% of Rockcastle County’s population is food insecure – this means that about 2,790 people in the county have experienced limited or uncertain access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy life. About one quarter of those people are children. The Community Outreach Center in Rockcastle County, KY helps God’s Pantry fill that meal gap by providing access to healthy, hearty meals for children in need.
Their efforts don’t end there, however. The Community Outreach Center also operates a food pantry outside of the Summer Food Service Program called “Feeding the Flock,” which opens its doors to Rockcastle County families every Wednesday morning. Kat Pope, the Center’s Coordinator for all activities, said that providing food to hungry families is her favorite part of working at the Community Outreach Center.
“I love this ministry and getting to know folks, hearing their stories, encouraging them in their trials and offering prayers of support,” said Pope.
During their weekly summer meal service, the Center serves meals to children first, focusing on “color and balance” – with lots of fruit! – but also provides separate meals to their parents and guardians. The adults are usually served hot dogs and hamburgers with different sides, desserts and drinks. Both inside and outside of the Summer Food Service Program, the Community Outreach Center focuses on families.
In her free time, Pope enjoys fishing, swimming, and spending time with her two grandchildren, but she is particularly passionate about her mission work at the Community Outeach Center. She and all of the Center’s volunteers “have a great love for children and want to do whatever we can to improve their childhood experience, encourage them and provide resources for their future.
Seeing happy children enjoying themselves” during the summer meal service, said Pope, “that’s worth it all.”
The Community Outreach Center will serve lunch every Thursday afternoon from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. until August 4, 2016. They also offer crafts and outdoor games after the children finish their meals.