Kentucky Board Of Education Honors Nonprofit Murray Feeding Ministry
The Kentucky Board of Education is awarding a Murray nonprofit dedicated to feeding families with the 2020 Kevin C. Brown Strategic Priority Award.
The KBE presented the award to Soup for the Soul Wednesday during a virtual meeting. The award is presented annually to a person, group, organization, district, school or postsecondary institution that has overcome challenges to provide for the well-being of Kentucky students through policy, practice, fundraising or philanthropy. Soup for the Soul Program Coordinator Olivia Robison said the award sheds light on the issue of hunger in western Kentucky, and what her organization is doing to fight it.
“Receiving this award further validates the positive impact it [Soup for the Soul] has on the children and families in our community,” Robison said in a press release. “My hope after receiving this award is that it will bring awareness to the food insecurity issues in our area and make others aware of the resources that are available.”
In addition to daily meal service for the community, Soup for the Soul manages a portfolio of programming that involves students in local school districts. A summer-time “Lunch and Literacy” program, done in partnership with the Murray Independent School District, provided families in need with a backpack of food and a book, twice a week. The COVID-19 pandemic threatened the program, but leaders in the nonprofit were able to provide full meals with no-contact delivery throughout the summer.
“We had more routes, more food, more families. Last year we had 125, this year we had more than 300,” Soup for the Soul Board Co-Chair Noraa Ransey said. “We’re already writing our budget for this summer and it looks very much like last summer.”
Robison said she is proud of how the community came together to expand access to books and hot meals during the summer while the coronavirus ravaged Calloway County.
“It was incredible to see a village of teachers, volunteers, and local businesses come together to ensure that we were able to supply and deliver the meals and books to these kids, even in spite of strict COVID regulations,” Robison said. “Our summer program has always been one of my favorite parts about working for Soup for the Soul and the very reason I came on staff in the first place.”
The award is named for Kevin C. Brown, general counsel for Jefferson County Public Schools. Brown served as the commonwealth’s interim education commissioner from December 2019 to September 2020. He said he is pleased with the outcome of the award’s selection process.
"Soup for the Soul is a perfect example of how it takes everyone in a community to support student well-being," Brown said in a statement. "A year ago we had no idea what was in store for us as a state and a nation. Soup for the Soul exemplifies the notion that caring people willing to volunteer their time, talents and funds are sometimes the best strategies we have to solve issues affecting our communities."
Learn more about Soup for the Soul, including volunteer opportunities and how to donate, here.