Holiday help headed for Kenai food bank

Posted: Thursday, November 01, 2007

The sum isn't huge, but every little bit helps when it comes to feeding the needy on Thanksgiving.

The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, which supports some 300 families from Moose Pass to Homer, is in line for a $3,200 grant from the Department of Health and Social Services, which is spreading some $40,000 to Alaska food banks to help with Thanksgiving food distribution across the state.

Jim Frates, warehouse supervisor for the organization, was unaware of the grant.

"That's a real gift," he said when informed Tuesday. "Rest assured, that money will be put to good use in our efforts to provide food for the hungry."

The Alaska Food Coalition, a statewide organization of anti-hunger advocates formed in 1997, is funneling the state aid to five regional food banks based on the percentage of people living in poverty in those areas. They include the Food Bank of Alaska, which serves all areas of the state not served by other food banks (77 percent), Fairbanks Community Food Bank (11 percent), Kenai Peninsula Food Bank (8 percent), Southeast Alaska Food Bank (3 percent), and Kodiak Island Food Bank (1 percent).

According to the 2000 federal census, more than 60,000 people live below the federal poverty line in Alaska.

"The holidays are the busiest time of the year for food banks and pantries," said DHSS Deputy Commissioner Bill Hogan in a press release. "This money will be distributed statewide to help combat hunger during this significant time of need."

A federal social services grant was the source of the funds. According to the department, the money will be electronically transferred Thursday to the Alaska Food Coalition and disbursed to the five food banks from there.

Hal Spence can be reached at hspence@ptialaska.net.



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