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Covington City Staff Gets Creative in Annual Canned Food Drive

The City of Covington's annual holiday food drive kicked off this season as city employees were called upon to open their hearts and kitchen cupboards to the needy.

For the second year, the city joined forces with Be Concerned for a holiday food drive. 

But this year, unique exhibits were made entirely of the donated cans of food and displayed throughout offices in City Hall.

"We greatly appreciate the partnership that comes with the City of Covington," said Andy Brunsman, executive director of Be Concerned. "It's a partnership that's been going on for a few years now." 

According to the city's website, City Manager David Johnston said he was impressed by both the camaraderie and the generosity. "I love how our folks here are vested in the community and in each other," he said. "It was amusing to see everyone go at it ... and of course now it's back to work."

Kentucky is ranked 44th in the highest percentage of households who were food insecure on average from 2015 to 2017, meaning that at some point during the year, they experienced difficulty providing enough food due to a lack of money or resources.

According to recent data, the poverty rate in Covington is 24.7%, meaning that roughly one out of every 4 residents of Covington lives at or below the poverty rate. So for a family of four, if you make less than $25,750 annually or less, you are considered to be living in poverty. 

All this, coupled with the fact that many parts of Covington could be considered a food desert, makes the holiday season a bit more difficult to navigate. The presence of a food desert doesn't mean that there is a shortage of food. It's because of logistical barriers, getting fresh produce, meat and dairy to people who need them most.

So this year, the City of Covington invited its staff to bring canned food items for donation to its annual holiday luncheon to be donated to Be Concerned. But this year, the annual food drive was escalated into a competition among various City Hall offices, to see which office could produce the most donations. 

In total, 2,275 pounds of canned food items were collected - almost double last year's total. 

"All that food will mean a greater variety of choices for the more than 500 families coming through the food pantry this holiday season to pick out their groceries," Brunsman said in a city press release. 

He goes on to say, "No matter what we are working on, whether that's our Annual Christmas Store, or working together with respect to our relocation during the development of Duveneck Square,the City of Covington has been a good friend and partner to Be Concerned." 

Those interested in volunteering can visit the BeConcerend website (http://www.beconcerned.org) or call (859) 291-6789.

Written by Kareem Simpson, RCN contributor

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