Commissioner of Agriculture visits Pike County for Health & Hunger Forum

Local News

PIKEVILLE, KY (WOWK) — Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles is in Pike County for a ‘Health and Hunger Forum.’

“COVID complicated everything. We had a 30 percent increase in the number of Kentuckians going to foodbanks in just the past 18 months and that has not gone away unfortunately. And so we like to adapt, we like to improve as we go, and as we emerge from COVID-19 we want to make sure that our food insecurity efforts are matching the modern times,” Quarles says.

That’s why the commissioner is participating in this forum—which health organizations, foodbanks, and other agencies and members of the community attended to voice the concerns and unique challenges of the area.

“It puts a spotlight on the issue, and it helps with collaboration and partnerships. When you bring people together, and you have open discussion—nothing creates progress like collaboration and partnership,” says Tammy Riley, public health director for Pike County.

Problems brought up include access to health care and nutritious food, transportation limitations, and the need for better communication services among other things.

Quarles says the issues raised here will help identify how tools and resources—like the Kentucky Hunger Initiative—can be better utilized.

“We want to make sure that we correctly identify the barriers to access to fresh, local, nutritious food as well, and so that requires us to listen and learn across the state…This is one of about a dozen forums we’ve had across Kentucky to better understand and identify problems and help make sure no Kentuckian goes to bed hungry at night,” Quarles says.

“I’m glad it’s being brought to our community and I’m glad actually people care, cause some people just don’t care,” says Cassandra Oakley, who attended the forum Friday.

“Sometimes it’s more than just about getting food to food banks and food pantries. It’s also about helping promote healthy lifestyles, healthy diets, and making sure we help reduce unhealthy issues down the line,” Quarles says.

The commissioner says they are encouraging Kentuckians to consider donating food, time, or money to their local food pantries as they approach the holidays.

For more stories from Natalie Wadas, follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

For local and breaking news, weather alerts, video and more, download the FREE WOWK 13 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Download the FREE WOWK 13 News App

Washington DC Bureau

More Washington DC Bureau

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

Trending Stories