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Kentucky Power's Power Up The Pantry becomes annual community event

ASHLAND, Ky., March 9, 2019 – Kentucky Power is partnering with WYMT and local businesses to Power Up Pantry and replenish depleted area food pantries for the second year. The inaugural event collected a one-day near record 7.5 tons of food and more than $17,000 in monetary donations, enough for about 152,000 meals.
The second daylong event is planned for April 3. Donations benefit God’s Pantry Food Bank and eastern Kentucky community agencies served by Facing Hunger Food Bank. Kentucky Power organized the inaugural event in 2019 and collaborated with Anthem Medicaid, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, the City of Hazard, the City of Prestonsburg, Big Sandy Community and Technical College, Hazard Community and Technical College, God’s Pantry Food Bank, New Hope Church, and WYMT to have the biggest community impact. Even Hazard schoolchildren participated with schools competing to collect the most goods. This year, collections sites in Pikeville and Ashland have been added, along with Facing Hunger Food Bank.

Power Up the Pantry donations collected in Prestonsburg will go to God’s Pantry, which operates distribution centers in Prestonsburg and London that serve food pantries in eastern Kentucky. Hazard donations will go to New Hope Church Emergency Food Pantry, which is served by God’s Pantry. This year, the event has expanded to include Facing Hunger, which serves food pantries in northeast Kentucky, including the greater Ashland area and surrounding counties.

“This year we are reaching out to more businesses to encourage them to join the effort by collecting goods from employees and customers," said Cindy Wiseman, Kentucky Power’s vice president of external affairs and customer service. "We are coming out of winter when food pantries historically have more requests and often face critical shortages of food and supplies."

On April 3, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., collection sites will again be set up in Hazard at the ARH Medical Mall parking lot on Black Gold Boulevard and at Big Sandy Community & Technical College’s parking lot near the Science Center at Bert Combs Drive in Prestonsburg. Two new drop-off sites have been added at Appalachian Wireless Arena on the Main Street side in Pikeville and at Central Park at the end of Chuck Woolery Boulevard in Ashland.

“An easy way for businesses to participate is to put up collection barrels for employees or customers to make donations of non-perishable food, baby supplies, including diapers, and then deliver the goods to one of the collection sites on April 3,” Wiseman said. “Money also is welcome. Businesses and individuals can make charitable contributions to the cause. Checks can be made payable to God’s Pantry Food Bank or Facing Hunger Food Bank."

One in six residents in Kentucky struggles with hunger and are unsure where their next meal will come from, according to God’s Pantry Executive Director Michael Halligan.

Last fiscal year, God’s Pantry supplied 34.5 million pounds of food and 13.6 million pounds of fresh produce to more than 400 food pantries and meal programs in central and eastern Kentucky. The Prestonsburg warehouse serves Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Lawrence, Magoffin, Letcher and Martin counties. The warehouse stores orders until local agencies can pick them up for distribution and also has fresh produce delivered for agencies to access. God’s Pantry also operates a warehouse in London that serves Perry and other southeastern Kentucky counties. Facing Hunger, based in Huntington, West Virginia, serves food pantries in Boyd, Greenup, Lawrence and Martin counties.

“Ending hunger does not happen at a food bank,” Halligan said. “It takes communities working together in partnership like this to have an impact. We appreciate the support and focus Power Up the Pantry will generate and look forward to seeing the difference it will make in eastern Kentucky for those in need.”

Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Ashland, provides service to about 165,000 customers in 20 eastern Kentucky counties and is an operating company in the American Electric Power system, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States.

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