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'We are at capacity': God's Pantry food bank looks to expand as demand on the rise

Josh James

God’s Pantry unveiled what will become its new home in Lexington on Monday. The Innovation Drive facility will absorb both the food bank’s old location and a storage location in Winchester.

The new God’s Pantry hub will support more than 500 partner agencies across 50 counties at a time when CEO Mike Halligan says the need is only growing.

"We could not grow without this facility. We are literally at capacity today," he explained. ' Even though there are a quarter of a million people who are experiencing hunger, we know that it's on the increase. In the last year, we've seen more than a 20% increase. We have food pantries and meal programs across Central and Eastern Kentucky who talk to us about seeing 50% more people than they saw just a year ago."

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said, as an educator, she saw the impact of food insecurity firsthand.

"I saw those children come and go from the classroom, afraid to go home because they would be hungry on the weekends. That's not just a story; that's a reality," she said at the ground breaking ceremony.

The new God’s Pantry headquarters is set for completion in October of next year. While the cost of the move is about $20 million, Halligan says the organization is already 3/4ths of the way to that goal and the increased capacity will easily outweigh the upfront costs.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.