WEBSTER COUNTY, KY (12/28/11) – What began about five months ago as a project to help local families in Sebree who were seeking food has blossomed into an ongoing county-wide effort to provide food or emergency services on a regular basis to those who need help.
Sitting at a beauty shop in downtown Sebree, committee members of the Sebree Food Bank — a name which several on the committee repeatedly emphasized was only based on where the organization began and not on its service area — said they have been working diligently to expand the operation to include as many Webster County communities as possible.
“Sebree Food Bank is only a name,” said committee member Charles Buchanan. “If you’re hungry, we’re going to feed you.”
He added that the organization is willing to “go across county lines” once they verify the request for aid is genuine.
Tamara Moore, who helped create the program with Jaclyn Buchanan, said the two of them decided to pursue the effort after people who came into her beauty shop told her of local people in hunger. She said she shared those stories with others, who began to bring in food to give to them.
“We knew it was going to be a good thing,” Moore said of the decision to create the food bank.
The organization provides much more than just food, committee members said. Wheelchairs and walkers are available to borrow, and the committee also collects personal hygiene items, and other things people may need, as well as works with existing agencies to provide referrals and check that services aren’t being duplicated unnecessarily.
That doesn’t mean they won’t provide food to those who may be using other services, but they also want to “make sure no one is abusing the system,” committee members said.
To date, the organization has helped almost 640 people, and is in the process of setting up a tax-deductible 501c3 certification, paid for from assistance by Webster County Fiscal Court. Food and other personal items will be stored at the Sebree Community Center building as well as sites in other communities, including Providence.
The committee already includes representatives from several communities in Webster County, including Providence, Onton, and Poole, and members said they hope to appoint at least one person from each community in the county.
Donations of items, or monetary donations, may be made either at Sebree Deposit Bank or through any committee member. Checks may be mailed to P.O. Box 643 in Sebree. The zip code is 42455. Moore said the organization is “in desperate need of hospital gowns and chucks (padding).”
The committee said one of the biggest motivators in the initiative was a statistics report provided to them by the Webster County School District that indicated the number of students receiving free and reduced lunch services is steadily increasing.
According to the report, Dixon Elementary has the smallest percentage — about 42 percent — of students on the adjusted price program. Slaughters Elementary, Clay Elementary, and Webster County High School each have 50 percent, 51 percent, and 53 percent, respectively, using the service. Sebree Elementary has the next highest percentage at 71, and Providence Elementary has 78 percent utilizing the program.
Part of the increase could be the result of more people applying as the school year progresses, and committee member Catholine Townsend, who retired as the school district’s Food Service Director last year, noted that some people are eligible but are hesitant to apply.
People in need of food or other items, or who know someone with such needs, can contact the food bank at 635-1400 or 635-0371.
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