Adapting & Working Together
Although the Red Bird Valley Kitchen has been closed to the public, the Red Bird Christian School was able to use the kitchen to prepare meals for local children during the month of April. Due to a widespread power outage that lasted nearly 2 weeks, the School staff was fearful that meals would have to be canceled since the school was impacted by the outage. However, with the availability of the Red Bird Valley Kitchen this vital service did not have to stop. Over 100 meals were prepared in the Kitchen and had a large impact on the community! This is just one of the many great things that have come out of the Red Bird Valley Kitchen and we look forward to the day that its doors will open once again to the public and allow them to use the space to do great things as well!
Recently Feeding America published its Map the Meal Gap study about food insecurity in the United States. Central and Eastern Kentucky had the highest insecurity rates at 16.5%. Clay County reports a 23% food insecurity, now worsening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 56% of Clay County children are living in poverty, and 37% of families receive food stamps. 78% of children in Bell County are receiving free lunch. In response, Red Bird Mission, primarily serving Clay, Bell, and Leslie Counties have expanded our partnerships for increased access to our Commercial Kitchen, emergency food pantries, and are building networks to innovatively offer Facebook Live demos and training sessions. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, mid-April, much of our Red Bird Community faced flooding and significant power outages, lasting up to 7 days for some. Red Bird Christian School was impacted by this outage. To enable them to continue providing 2 emergency meals per day for children 18 and under during the outage they cooked out of our Commercial Kitchen, serving 142 meals.
The local health department approved the usage of our kitchen for the purpose of administering the Kentucky Department of Education’s School Community Nutrition federal program, “Seamless Summer Option” (SSO) during this time. The school was approved to provide these services due to the closure of all local schools from March 13-June 30, 2020.
Temporary preparation and pick up location for emergency children meals
Staff wearing face masks during meal distribution
Red Bird River
Community members that lost all of their perishable groceries due to the power outage were served through Red Bird Mission’s emergency food pantry. While Grow Appalachia worked with over 60 families to plant their own gardens for sustainability. Plant and canning supply distributions really look different this year. We supplied educational material and supplies in a drive-by setting, providing members with contact information if they had questions or concerns.
Educational material, canning supplies, peck basket, and summer plants.
We work together as an organization to help the members of our community because, in the end, we are not just a community, we are friends, families, and families help one another in times of need.