As Owen County residents continue to face the ever-evolving challenges set forth by COVID-19, the community’s Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provider, Meeting the Needs Ministries, Inc., has doubled its distribution.
The Northern Kentucky Area Development District (NKADD) oversees TEFAP, a federally funded program typically serving households with incomes under 130 percent of the federal poverty level. Beginning April 1, NKADD loosened its eligibility requirements to allow families with incomes at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level to participate. The temporary eligibility change will remain in place through June 30.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is responsible for purchasing surplus food from farmers and producers for the program. The commodities are then shipped to distribution centers like the Freestore Foodbank in Wilder, Ky. and provided to Meeting the Needs at no cost.
Commodities in Owen County are distributed once a month in what has become a joint effort between Meeting the Needs, NKADD and Owen County Public Works (OCPW), with employees of OCPW traveling to the Freestore Foodbank to load the commodities for drop-off at Meeting the Needs.
This month, the City of Owenton joined the effort.
“While we are certainly happy with the increase in goods and the number of people who will be helped, this has become even harder to facilitate as the public works crew has had an adjusted work schedule during COVID-19,” said Owen County Judge-Executive Casey Ellis.
“With that said, I reached out to Owenton Mayor Adam Gaines and asked for help. He immediately agreed to send his maintenance employee and truck to help with the large demand. This is another example of collaboration between County and City Government at its best.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Meeting the Needs Chairperson David Lilly said the ministry mostly served senior citizens, but with thousands of Kentuckians facing economic hardships, the number of those under 60 being served has significantly increased.
“We were serving about 175 families; then we jumped big time,” Lilly said. “A lot of people out there are hurting, and many of our residents are benefitting from this service."
Residents under the age of 60 who are in need of assistance may attend the monthly commodities distribution on the second Tuesday of each month at 910 Hwy. 22 East, Owenton, KY 40359, and will be asked to fill out the sign-in sheet with their name, address and number of household members.
Residents over the age of 60 will be asked to fill out an application and must bring a photo ID and a recent bill for proof of address.
“It’s a good cooperation,” said NKADD Associate Director for Community and Public Administration Meghan Sandfoss. "I think it's something everybody feels good about doing because it's literally ‘Meeting the Needs.’”