Health and Family Services Cabinet
Make A Difference Day Project Collects More than 123 Tons of Food; Kentuckians donate enough to feed nearly 500,000
Note to editors and producers: For photos of some of the donations to Make A Difference Day, log on to http://chfs.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/C3E58783-B596-4267-B2E4-A4D9FC27B0E0/0/MADD2009PictureSlideShow.pdf.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2009) – As Thanksgiving approaches, Kentuckians have another reason to celebrate. The statewide Make A Difference Day Food Drive yielded 123.27 tons, enough food to feed 493,087 Kentuckians an 8-ounce serving.
Thanks to the strong support of Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear, this is a 74 percent increase over the amount collected in the 2008 food drive.
In early October, Gov. and Mrs. Beshear launched the expanded food drive as part of Make A Difference Day, a massive national day of giving and helping others that is hosted annually by the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS) in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).
The Beshears encouraged the general public and state employees to participate in the annual drive and also challenged state agencies to compete to collect the top amount.
“I knew our state employees would jump at the chance to help others, but never imagined they alone would collect over 17 tons of food,” Gov. Beshear said. “Top honors go to the Cabinet for Economic Development with over 8 pounds of food collected per employee, but appreciation goes to every employee in state government who helped make this event such an overwhelming success.”
Staff from CHFS’ nine Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) regions and the state’s 13 AmeriCorps programs, administered by KCCVS, again held their annual, individual competitions to collect the most food.
The winning DCBS service region was The Lakes Service Region with 2.12 tons and 374 employees. All DCBS regions combined collected 4.38 tons; when added to the 12.96 tons collected throughout the rest of state government, the final tally of food collected by state employees stands at 17.34 tons.
The leading AmeriCorps program was SERV Corps, based at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, which collected 42.28 tons of food. All of Kentucky’s AmeriCorps programs combined collected 105.94 tons of food.
Winners were determined by the number of ounces per employee or member.
All winners will be recognized next spring at the annual Governor’s Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service.
CHFS Secretary Janie Miller said she was overwhelmed by Kentuckians’ tremendous spirit of giving. “It is amazing that so much food was collected during this year’s drive,” Miller said. “AmeriCorps members and DCBS staff serve vulnerable and disadvantaged families every day, and the success of this effort shows their commitment to serving these families is not just what they do, it’s their way of life.”
The amount collected this year is enough to feed nearly 500,000 Kentuckians an 8-ounce serving of food. If all 493,087 Kentuckians stood in line for their serving of food, the line would be more than 186 miles long.
The KCCVS traditionally sponsors an annual campaign to collect as much canned goods and other nonperishable food as possible as part of its Make A Difference Day observance. Food is donated to food pantries and emergency feeding centers in the communities where it is collected.
Eileen Cackowski, executive director of KCCVS, said the campaign is a great way for AmeriCorps members and CHFS staff to connect with other state employees in service.
“The Make A Difference Day food drive calls attention to the great needs of people across the state that so many families – even families with working parents – are experiencing,” she said. “The day also highlights the ease and fun of volunteering when you do it as a group with your coworkers, church or family.”
The food drive project was part of Make A Difference Day, an annual nationwide effort held on the fourth Saturday of October and billed as a day to help others. USA Weekend magazine is the main sponsor.
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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