KY Kids Eat was formed in 2016 in partnership with the Kentucky Association of Food Banks, state leaders, and the national No Kid Hungry campaign, which is a program of the nonprofit organization Share Our Strength. The Kentucky Association of Food Banks is the lead agency of the KY Kids Eat Coalition, a cross-sector collaboration. KY Kids Eat coalition members represent nonprofit organizations, Kentucky food banks, key school districts, universities, as well as the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School program, USDA Rural Development, the First Lady’s Office, Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Education, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy, and the Kentucky Department of Public Health.
We believe that no child in Kentucky should grow up hungry. Kentucky has access to nutritious food and we have meal programs that work. The problem is that not enough kids are able to access nutritious meals.
Our collaborative approach can fix this problem.
As part of the national No Kid Hungry network, the KY Kids Eat Campaign ensures kids have access to nutritious meals 365 days of the year through:
KY Kids Eat provides funding, training, and support for schools and nonprofits in almost all 120 counties in Kentucky. Our advocacy work on a state and national level amplifies the impact of each dollar invested in our mission. The KY Kids Coalition is a statewide network of nonprofits, school systems, policy makers, business leaders, and community members creating innovative hunger solutions.
We are a statewide connector, a pathway to access for organizations, and a megaphone for everyone feeding children in Kentucky.
We identified a three-pronged approach to achieving our goal of no kid hungry in Kentucky:
- Provide sustainable support for nonprofits and schools implementing federal nutrition programs.
- Reduce the stigma of receiving a free meal.
- Increased advocacy efforts on the federal and state level to remove barriers for meal program sponsors.
Kate McDonald manages the KY Kids Eat Campaign and Coalition. She works to enhance food security for Kentucky’s youngest citizens through statewide food security initiatives that improve, promote, and expand Kentucky’s participation in federal nutrition programs. She develops a needs assessment of federal nutrition programs, determining the campaign’s impact on the federal nutrition programs, and meets with elected officials, policymakers, government agencies and direct service providers to promote the campaign’s efforts.
Kate believes that everyone should have access to healthy food. Before moving to Kentucky, she started the Cooking Matters program at Second Harvest Feeding South Louisiana, and worked to create the food bank’s first nutrition department, nutrition policy, and nutritional rating system. Her work has been highlighted by Share Our Strength, the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and the American Public Health Association. She is passionate about being part of the community working to end the injustice of hunger and ensuring that all people have the opportunity to develop their full potential. Kate is as graduate of Tulane University and lives in Lexington, Kentucky.
Ashley Lauren is serving as the 2018-2019 AmeriCorps Vista. She is helping build the capacity of the KY Kids Eat initiative by supporting in the implementation of school breakfast programs across the state. Ashley Lauren is passionate about changing the negative consequences of food insecurity in the lives of children by making healthy foods easily accessible.
Prior to AmeriCorps, Ashley Lauren served as a computer engineer at one of the nation’s largest healthcare companies where she led a multimillion dollar acquisition project. She holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Austin Peay State University.