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The Mt. Sterling-Montgomery County community now has access to a new food pantry through the efforts of the Sterling Community Food Coalition. This 501(c)(3) non-profit group has the mission of providing food to people who are insecure in their food supply and to support ongoing efforts by the community to end hunger.
“This effort is not meant to compete with the good work being done by other pantries, churches, organizations, businesses and individuals, but instead to bring additional resources to the fight against hunger,” said Tina Garland, the Food Coalition’s board chair.
The group opened a food pantry in May 2017 in a modest but functional building at 515 Maysville Road behind the former Car Quest location. The facility has both a loading dock and a ramp to provide easy access for loading food into it and distributing food from it.
While there are also many other groups providing meals in the area, the Sterling Community Food Coalition brings some additional resources to the fight against hunger. The organization is a partner agency of God’s Pantry Food Bank, which serves more than 50 counties from their Lexington headquarters and four other warehouse and distribution locations throughout the region.
Being a God’s Pantry partner agency allows the Food Coalition pantry to access food at a cost of only 19 cents per pound, according to Jeffrey Liles, a member of God’s Pantry Food Bank’s regional advisory board. But more exciting is the availability of free food waiting to be distributed right here in the community. Through nationwide agreements, food that is still good but can no longer be sold by Walmart can be picked up and distributed in Mt. Sterling. The Food Coalition has also supported the local economy by buying food from grocery stores in Montgomery County.
Another benefit of being a God’s Pantry partner is the ability to pass along food to other agencies. “If our financial donations and food supply exceed demand at the Food Coalition pantry, we can provide food to other agencies and that must be done at no charge to them,” said Jeffrey Liles.
Like most non-profit groups, the success of the Food Coalition pantry rests on the efforts of volunteers and donors. Information about ways to join the effort is available on this website. There is also a Facebook page to stay current on information related to the food pantry and hours of operation.
According to national statistics from Feeding America, one in eight people face hunger. Locally, the Food Coalition expects that nearly half of those it serves at the pantry will be children and that one in six will be senior citizens. A third of those served by God’s Pantry partner agencies are served on a regular basis. Tina Garland said, “We feel blessed to be a player in the community’s fight against hunger and we look forward to working together to help ensure no one goes hungry in Montgomery County.” To recognize they are joining the community’s combined fight against hunger, the group chose the slogan “Together, We Feed More.”
Sterling Community Food Coalition Board Members
Dr. Danielle King, Chair
Alan Newkirk, Vice Chair
Tina Bryant, Treasurer
Tammye Hood, Secretary
Rev. Gregory Bonner
Becky Cooley, Agency Coordinator