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Water Into Wine expands food storage

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MIDDLE FORK - The local food bank has purchased a refrigerated box trailer, expanding their food capacity to be able to serve more Magoffin County families.

The Water Into Wine Food Pantry, based out of the Lakefront Church of God in the former Middle Fork Elementary School on Route 30, recently bought a 48-foot box cooler trailer in order to expand their food storage at the facility, using funding from a grant through Wellcare of Kentucky. 

Jeff Tackett, with Water Into Wine, said the trailer can hold up to 44 pallets of food, with the availability to go from 20-below for frozen meats, 40 degrees to be used as a cooler/refrigerator and up to 65 degrees to keep the food from freezing in the winter months.

“We had looked into prices for a commercial add-on to the building, looking at around $60,000, but then we found this for about $5,000,” Tackett explained.

He said the trailer will also allow them to be able to pick up loads of food through Christian Appalachian Project, instead of waiting for a shipment. 

“This trailer actually quadruples our storage space for fresh fruits and vegetables and milk products, to be given to the community,” Tackett said. “This provides a more viable food source on had for the community.”

Especially with milk saturating the market right now, he explained they will be able to accept more product, and in turn, give that back to the community, when before they would have had to turn down some of the donations due to lack of refrigerated storage space.

Water Into Wine participates in the Magoffin County Schools’ summer youth feeding program, and in the fall they help with the Magoffin County Extension Office’s backpack program, as well as partners with the youth services offices at the local schools, Hope Clinic, Magoffin County Senior Center, Mountain Comprehensive Care, Christian Appalachian Project, USDA commodities and is working to develop the Farmers Feeding Friends initiative locally. 

“When we get a shipment, we try to work with all these agencies to make sure it all gets distributed where it needs to be,” Tackett said.

Farmers Feeding Friends will run out of the Water Into Wine facility, as well, allowing local farmers to meet their neighbors and provide fresh produce to those in need from the community. Through the program, the pantry receives fresh produce to distribute locally, while the farmers receive money through the statewide program Farms to Food Banks, which recently received a grant to fund the project.

Tackett said he hopes they will be able to start having community farming classes next year so the community can, “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”

Recently, Tackett noticed an increase in families served in the community, noting that they have gone from averaging around 500 families to roughly 800 families a month.  

The food pantry has extended their operating hours, open every Wednesday now instead of just once a month, and are up to 75 volunteers.

“We have no paid positions, so everything is volunteer, but it’s a good thing,” Tackett said, noting they can always use more volunteers. 

Water Into Wine also has an upcoming ribbon-cutting ceremony slated for June 19 at 1 p.m., celebrating their newly-remodeled resource center. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield donated the funds for them to add on to their facilities, allowing for them to serve even more people in the area.
 

 

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Heather Oney