Fulton County is the westernmost county Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,813 and the county seat is Hickman, KY. Approximately 25% of individuals living in Fulton County live below the poverty level. A review of data for Fulton County reveals a community greatly affected by poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, low literacy and education levels, and a number of other risk factors.
The issue of food insecurity has been a topic of interest among community members over the last few years, especially families with children ages 18 and under. Families are unaware of the various child nutrition programs available to them and that participation can improve their quality of life. People also do not know about free transportation provided to assist them to reach the resources they need, especially the new resources created in partnership with the RCPNC grant. Based on the 694 surveys taken by Fulton county residents as a part of the community needs assessment, over half of the respondents strongly agree that there is a stigma associated with accepting food stamps. This may prevent eligible families from participating in assistance programs, even though there is high need.
Fulton County Schools will work with our coalition to address these barriers. We will work with public transit to create a transportation program. Our goal is to create transit stops at locations in which families can access much needed resources, like Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites. We will work with the community to identify more SFSP sites to make the program more accessible to children. Using our “Fresh Van,” we will determine additional stops to deliver food as a part of the SFSP. To address the lack of awareness and stigma, we will host a marketing campaign to educate the community about available nutrition assistance programs, including local food banks, combat stigma by dispelling myths about poverty and need, and bring attention to the new transportation route to help families get to resources. The community as a whole will be aware of all child nutrition programs through newspaper advertisements, radio announcements, social media and flyers. Promotional videos will be made and disseminated through social media sites to market the programs. With a stronger focus on marketing through social media, we hope to ensure we are reaching all groups in Fulton County. We also hope to get several community leaders to show support to legitimize the ongoing program. New partners will be invited to join the coalition/effort. Stakeholders will also work to enhance relationships with local service providers for nutrition assistance programs.
Targeted Nutrition Assistance Programs: SFSP, Local Food Banks