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Kentucky Wins $10,000 Award for Volunteer Project; Food drive collects enough to feed almost 500,000

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, April 13, 2010  
Contact Information:  Media Contact: Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180, ext. 4014; or Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042  


FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 13, 2010) – A Kentucky community service project has won a $10,000 award as part of Make A Difference Day, a massive national day of giving and helping others.

USA WEEKEND Magazine has named the state’s effort one of the top 10 in the country and will feature Kentucky in its April 18 edition.

Kentucky’s project, a statewide food drive coordinated by the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS) in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), yielded 123.27 tons, enough food to feed 493,087 Kentuckians an 8-ounce serving.

“This recognition is a reflection of the commitment our Kentuckians have for service to others,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “Our commonwealth’s AmeriCorps programs have been at the heart of this drive for the past nine years. Their continued commitment to serving disadvantaged families through their annual community food collections is remarkable.”

For the food drive, members from the state’s 13 AmeriCorps programs, which are administered by KCCVS, and staff from CHFS’ nine Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) regions held their annual individual competitions to collect the most food.

This year, Gov. and First Lady Jane Beshear became involved and strongly encouraged state employees to engage in the friendly competition. State employees contributed more than 17 tons of food to the total.

“The First Lady and I appreciate every employee in state government who helped make this event such an overwhelming success,” Gov. Beshear said.

The food has been donated to food pantries and emergency feeding centers in the communities where it was collected.

Eileen Cackowski, executive director of KCCVS, said the award is a huge accomplishment.

“This honor recognizes the hard work of the agencies and individuals who make this food drive a priority year after year,” she said. “Our true achievement was being able to feed a half a million Kentuckians, but with this award, we can help even more vulnerable families.”

Cackowski said the $10,000 award will be shared among several agencies, including the food banks represented by the three AmeriCorps programs that brought in record-breaking collection amounts.

Make A Difference Day is the largest national day of helping others and is sponsored each year by USA WEEKEND Magazine. It’s held on the fourth Saturday of October -- Oct. 23 this year.

Cackowski said any community group can be a part of Kentucky’s food drive this year. Food stays in the community where it’s collected and the total amount donated is reported to the KCCVS office.

For more information about the 2009 Make A Difference Day campaign, volunteering or the AmeriCorps programs visit www.volunteerKY.ky.gov.

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Last Updated 4/13/2010