Community members have rallied around the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank this month after local municipalities proclaimed September as Hunger Action Month.
The food bank has had many local groups, business and individuals step up throughout the month to help fight hunger on the Kenai Peninsula.
“It’s been wonderful,” said Kenai Peninsula Food Bank Executive Director Gary Meyer, who recently took over the position after Linda Swarner’s retirement in March.
“Everyone has been so friendly and kind,” he said. “The thing that struck me when I first went out on pick-ups was not just the generosity of the stores, but how friendly and helpful the staff is. And we’re getting support from farmers and different growers. It’s great.”
Meyer highlighted several events this month, including the annual Soup Supper which was held on Sept. 15 at the Soldotna Sports Center.
“We had a great turnout,” Meyer said. “…We have such a supportive community and obviously the community was there helping.”
The event brought together local vendors for a night of homemade soups, desserts, wine and beer and an auction. This year’s theme also helped the Food Bank celebrate it’s 30th year in operation.
“It was a great birthday party,” Meyer said.
Despite the added attention of Hunger Awareness Month, the food bank is still in need of donations according to Meyer.
“I think it’s important to give a big thank you to everyone who has donated. If people are still thinking about hunger this month, we are in desperate need of canned items, like canned veggies or tuna, macaroni and cheese and peanut butter,” he said.
In 2017, the Food Bank processed over 1.2 million pounds of food, according to their website. The Soldotna location serves the entire Kenai Peninsula Borough, with a population of over 58,000 and about nine percent of that population living below the poverty level.
“The Kenai Peninsula Borough is committed to working with the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank in educating people about the role and importance of food banks in addressing hunger and raising awareness of the need to devote more resources and attention to hunger issues,” said Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pearce in a proclamation at the Sept. 4 borough assembly meeting.
The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank is open Monday to Friday, with direct service from 12 to 4 p.m. each day. For more information, visit kpfoodbank.org.