"The holidays are the busiest time of year for food banks and pantries. This money will be distributed statewide to help combat hunger during this significant time of need," said Bill Hogan, deputy commissioner.
The funds are being distributed through the Alaska Food Coalition, a statewide organization of anti-hunger advocates formed in 1997. Working in conjunction with Alaska food banks, the Food Coalition will distribute the holiday food funds based on a community's percentage of people living in poverty.
According to the 2000 United States Census, more than 60,000 people live below the federal poverty line in Alaska.
"The Alaska Food Coalition is excited to provide these funds to the state's regional food banks. With this effort, we hope to reach as many hungry people as possible and help provide a warm meal during the upcoming holiday season," Alaska Food Coalition Program Manager Kerri Burrows said.
The funds are being divided among food banks, based on the percentage of people living in poverty in areas of the state: Food Bank of Alaska, which serves all areas of the state not served by other food banks (77 percent); Fairbanks Community Food Bank (11 percent); Kenai Peninsula Food Bank (8 percent); Southeast Alaska Food Bank (3 percent); Kodiak Island Food Bank (1 percent).
The money is provided by a federal social services grant. You can find more information on the Alaska Food Coalition at: www.alaskafood.org.