LOUISVILLE — In response to rising food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) Mutual Insurance Company and the Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance Foundation will donate a total of $500,000 to hunger relief charities as part of Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles’ Kentucky Hunger Initiative. The donation is the largest single private donation made as part of the Kentucky Hunger Initiative since Commissioner Quarles launched the effort in 2016.
“When we started the Kentucky Hunger Initiative, I knew the ag community would step up to fight hunger like we never had before, but I could not have imagined a half-million-dollar donation from Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance,” Commissioner Quarles said. “This donation, in this time, demonstrates how Kentucky agriculture is not only committed to growing food and fiber during a pandemic, but also to marshaling funds to feed vulnerable Kentuckians affected by it. I cannot thank Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance enough, and I look forward to thanking them in person once our time of social distancing has passed.”
“The coronavirus pandemic is impacting people of every socioeconomic status, but we know those who were already living in food insecure conditions are at an even greater risk right now,” said Mark Haney, president of KFB. “We couldn’t turn our backs on our fellow Kentuckians simply because our fundraising event was postponed. If anything, it encouraged us to do more.”
“We experienced such an overwhelmingly positive response to last year’s inaugural event that we quickly established bigger plans for 2020. We wanted Clays for a Cause to be a real difference maker,” said John Sparrow, executive vice president and chief executive officer of KFB Insurance. “Little did we know that we would not only be fighting food insecurity this year, but also a global pandemic. Event or no event, we clearly understood that too many of our fellow Kentuckians were in a position of need, and we were in a position to help.”
The KFB Insurance Foundation raised $125,000 for Clays for a Cause by sponsors and participants, and the organization tripled that amount with resources from KFB Insurance for a total donation of $500,000. The funds will be divided into sizable donations to three local non-profit organizations – Feeding Kentucky, Glean Kentucky, and Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry – as part of the Kentucky Hunger Initiative.
“Feeding Kentucky is thrilled by this historic announcement from Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance,” said Tamara Sandberg, executive director of Feeding Kentucky. “I wish to express my gratitude to Farm Bureau and Commissioner Ryan Quarles, whose visionary leadership on hunger relief has ignited Kentucky’s agriculture community to take action in amazing ways. During the coronavirus pandemic, our food banks have seen a 40-percent increase in need for food assistance. This incredible donation from Farm Bureau will enable our organization to reach more Kentuckians at a critical time.”
“This donation from Kentucky Farm Bureau as part of Commissioner Quarles’ Hunger Initiative is an absolute game-changer for Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry,” said Roger LaPointe, executive director of Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry. “Our members are responsible sportsmen and women, conservationists dedicated to providing a healthy source of protein to needy Kentuckians. These funds will expand the reach of our organization in a time when we feared donations would dry up. We are grateful to Kentucky Farm Bureau and Commissioner Ryan Quarles for including us in this remarkable donation.”
“Glean Kentucky has spent much of the last several weeks expanding to meet the need during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Stephanie Wooten, executive director of Glean Kentucky. “We decided to act first and worry about money later. Thanks to Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance and Commissioner Ryan Quarles, now we don’t have to worry. This significant contribution will allow us to expand our gleaning and distribution capacity so that more hungry Kentuckians can enjoy fresh Kentucky fruits and vegetables all year long.”
The six-figure donation comes in advance of the company’s postponed annual Clays for a Cause fundraising event, originally scheduled for April 22-23. Last year, 191 participants attended the sporting clays event at Elk Creek Hunt Club in Owenton, Kentucky. The 2019 event was sponsored by 37 companies and raised $115,950 in support of local hunger relief efforts in Kentucky. KFB Insurance will reschedule Clays for a Cause to a later date and continue to host the charitable fundraising event on an annual basis.
Clays for a Cause is a sporting clays event produced and underwritten as a charitable fundraiser by Kentucky Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company. Every dollar raised from the event through sponsorships, donations and participant entry fees is given to a charity or cause designated by KFB.
The Kentucky Hunger Initiative was launched in 2016 by Quarles to bring together farmers, charitable organizations, faith groups, community leaders, and government entities to reduce hunger in Kentucky.