'American Idol' grant helps fund local BackPack Program

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By The Staff

America's Second Harvest of Kentucky's Heartland Food Bank has received a grant for $16,454 to combat child hunger in central and south central Kentucky.

The grant will be used to help fund a BackPack Program, sponsored in partnership with the Taylor County Ministerial Association and the Taylor County School System.

The program provides a bag of food to at-risk children to ensure they have adequate food over the weekends and during school breaks when school meals are not available.

At the start of the current school year, organizers expect about 100 children to be served on the program in Taylor County. ASHKH has rapidly expanded this program into 20 central and south central Kentucky counties.

The grant was made possible by Charity Projects Entertainment Fund, which was established to raise awareness of poverty across the United States and throughout the world. With this mission, CPEF teamed up with FOX and "American Idol" to present "Idol Gives Back," which aired on FOX in April 2007.

"Idol Gives Back" was a two-night special, which raised awareness and funds for organizations that focus on providing resources for young people in extreme poverty in the U.S. and Africa.

ASHKH received the grant as a result of its membership in America's Second Harvest - The Nation's Food Bank Network. America's Second Harvest was chosen as one of four domestic charities that received funds, which were raised through "Idol Gives Back." America's Second Harvest is the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, providing food and grocery products to more than 25 million Americans each year through a network of more than 200 food banks and 50,000 agencies including soup kitchens, food pantries, emergency shelters and feeding programs for both children and seniors.

"We are extremely grateful for this support of our work feeding hungry children," said Gary Miles, ASHKH executive director.