RAMP supports several hunger relief programs in Martin County, Kentucky including Backpack Program, community food pantry, school salad bars and community gardens, nutrition education, and emergency relief.
To combat hunger, RAMP provides fresh produce and nutritious, easy to prepare food to those children who have little to no access to food on weekends. For many children, their family's food stamps run out over the last two weeks of the month. When the last of the food is used, missing meals becomes the norm. The last 2 weekends of the month RAMP provides a backpack of food to bring home. This ensures that they have something nutritious to eat before returning to school the following Monday. RAMP currently feeds 350 students in the program, but there is still a huge need for more.
To provide the community with long-term food sustainability and income-generating projects, RAMP worked with the community to build a large community garden and four school gardens in Martin County.
Homecoming Food Pantry Garden: In cooperation with the community, RAMP established a large community garden located near the Homecoming Food Pantry in 2010. This large community garden is plowed, planted, sown, and maintained by volunteers from the local community, and yields approximately 8,000 pounds of fresh produce each growing season. Food grown in the garden is made directly available to families and children served by the food pantry.
School Gardens: In 2011, RAMP expanded its gardening program into the schools of Martin County. Four of the six public schools now have a garden that the students help to prepare, plant, and harvest. Produce from the school gardens supplies school lunches and snacks, so students benefit directly from their work in the garden.
These gardens are great, but they’re just the start! RAMP’s goal is to have gardens in all six schools, the Community Center and individual homes in order to generate additional income through sales at local markets.
To help increase access to fresh produce, RAMP launched a salad bar program in 2010. Salad bars stocked with fresh vegetables are now available to students during their lunch at all six public schools in Martin County. Students have responded well to the program and are excited to have fresh produce for lunch.
Food security is about more than just getting enough calories--it is about eating well to live well. RAMP provides nutritional education and grocery shopping tips that are implemented at the school level. These sessions make food fun and engage kids in making their own healthy eating choices. RAMP also runs Family Fun & Food Nights. These events bring parents, educators, and students together in a fun environment that fosters nutrition education, cooking, grocery shopping tips and healthy lifestyle choices.
RAMP enables informed, coordinated and hands-on relief efforts to families in emergency situations. Working with Martin County Public Schools and community volunteer, RAMP is able to quickly identify and provide basic needs like food and water in the wake of natural and economic disasters.