Vital Signs Volume 13, Issue 1 | Page 6

Dare to Care i s F eeding THOUSANDS OF FAMILIES NEAR YOU If you have never worried where your next meal was coming from, the idea of going without food may seem foreign. Still, we pass by them every day. In Jefferson County alone, there are more than 122,000 residents who lack the food to live a healthy life. The Dare to Care Food Bank has been working for decades to feed the hungry and overcome the cycle of need which exists in Kentucky and Indiana. The Dare to Care Food Bank was created in 1969 after a 9-year- old boy died of malnutrition in his Louisville home. In the nearly 50 years since the food bank’s inception, Dare to Care has be- come an institution in Kentucky and Indiana. Working with 250 community partners, the food bank provides nearly 20 million meals per year directly to those in need. “One of the challenges we face is trying to portray the scale of what we do,” said Dare to Care Program Director Annette Ball. Speaking at the food bank’s expansive Fern Valley Road loca- tion, which contains a warehouse capable of holding 2 million pounds of food, Ball explained that a 2018 goal of Dare to Care is to take the food bank’s message to those so far unfamiliar with their work. “Many people know a Dare to Care pantry at their church or community center, so in their mind our work may be that size. 6 But, there are 250+ similar locations in 13 counties with hundreds of thousands of families receiving food each year,” she said. The Dare to Care Food Bank takes special care to provide for families and communities most likely to run out of food. Their pantries are also essential pieces of partner nonprofits ded- icated to causes such as rehabilitating addiction survivors or protecting abuse victims. “The food we give to those nonprofits makes a huge difference,” Ball explained. “We’re able to save other organizations from using their funds on food so each one can focus on their mis- sion. Even if you aren’t suffering from food deficiency, you may have a family member who was abused, or had an addiction problem, and is now receiving services.” The food distributed by Dare to Care comes from a variety of sources. National and local sponsors provide funds and almost every type of food imaginable. There are 22,000 individual donors to the food bank each year, including shipments from major food distributors. Local food drives provide between 5-7 percent of the food Dare to Care uses as well. Despite these varied and helpful resources, Dare to Care still must purchase up to $2 million of additional food each year to fill gaps in their coverage. VITAL SIGNS Volume 13 • Issue 1