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Huntington Area Food Bank helps Greenup County agencies

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Hunger is a widespread problem in the Tri-State.

The mission of the Huntington Area Food Bank (HAFB) is to the combat the hunger problem in the Tri-State. The HAFB serves 250 agencies in 17 counties in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky on a monthly basis, including agencies in Greenup County, Ky.

The Greenup branch of Helping Hands is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 that provides emergency assistance to low-income individuals in the county.

The employees and volunteers at Helping Hands assist 120 to 150 families per month, and the HAFB provides Helping Hands with 3,000 to 8,000 pounds of food per month.

“The food bank supplies a large part of our food that we are able to distribute in Greenup County,” said Helping Hands director Scarlett Grubb. “Last month, we received 7,000 pounds of commodities and only received about 1,200 pounds in donations. We would not be able to serve as many people if we did not get commodities from them.”

Grubb said Helping Hands serves individuals in the 18 to 59 age group the most, followed by children and senior citizens.

Helping Hands participates in food drives each fall and spring to collect more food for Greenup County’s residents. The organization has shifted its focus over the past few months to make Helping Hands more of a community center atmosphere, Grubb said.

“Our board members, people in the community, our volunteers and clients are all working together to meet each others’ needs,” Grubb said. “We learn a lot from our clients who come in. We’re trying to promote that any of us could be just one paycheck away from being hungry.”

The Brick Union Lighthouse Church Pantry is another food pantry serving Greenup County, and it has been in operation for two years. Brick Union Lighthouse Church Pantry director Carl Collier said the pantry serves 130 to 150 families per month and receives about 3,000 pounds of food from the HAFB monthly.