Laurel County farmers and community members celebrated on Thursday night - a celebration that not only recognized the efforts of local farmers to produce quality food, but also raising money to help other people experiencing food deficiency.
The Farmers' Feast was a fundraiser to raise money for God's Pantry Food Bank in London, which is a distributor of food to food pantries across southeastern Kentucky. With a ticket price of $25 per person, organizers of the event said approximately 150 to 200 tickets were sold for the event.
Also known as "The Trash Can Dinner," the food raised by local farmers was the main course of the meal - corn, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, cabbage, bell peppers and carrots offset with homemade potato rolls. Polish sausage was the meat component for the meal that is layered inside the garbage cans and simmered for three hours. The food is carefully layered in new metal trash cans with water and heated over an open flame until done. Then the food is poured into sanitized, plastic lined troughs with tongs for consumers to retrieve their food.
Michael J. Halligan, CEO for God's Pantry Food Bank, said the money collected from local fundraisers remained at the London distribution center. Thursday's Farmers Feast was one of those large scale events - the other is the Taste of Southeast Kentucky set for October 25 at the Corbin Arena.
"We serve 50 counties across southeast Kentucky and our success is done through volunteers and donations," Halligan said.
The feast also offered a dessert auction following the dinner that tempted the sweet tooth with layered carrot cake topped with dried cranberries, a Mississippi Mud cake, pecan pies and other offerings. Funds from the auction were also contributed to the London center of God's Food Pantry.
Food deficiency is indeed a problem in today's society for many families and through the efforts of God's Food Pantry, those needing additional food supplements receive those through local distribution sites. Those in the Laurel County area listed on the God's Pantry Food Bank website include Come-Unity Cooperative Care (CCC), New Salem Baptist Church, Dorothea Pentecostal Church, Grace Fellowship Church, First Christian Church, First United Methodist Church and Hart Missionary Baptist Church.
Halligan added that the program benefits the local Backpack Club that gives snacks to children to last over the weekend when they might not receive the nutritional balanced meals offered with school breakfast and lunches through the week. The backpacks are assembled by volunteers with various organizations as well as individuals who wish to help others.
To volunteer or learn more about God's Pantry Food Bank, visit their website at godspantry.org. Click on "help," then on "events," and enter Laurel County.