Domestic violence shelters across the state will no longer receive food from the federal commodities program, according to a news release issued by the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association.
The Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program, based in Lexington, is one of 12 shelters statewide to be affected by this decision, according to association executive director Sherry Currens.
Currens said the association found out the service would stop after a federal government audit during which state officials were told they had been distributing the food in error to the shelters.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is enforcing the rule, which says that commodities may be distributed only to Tier One agencies such as soup kitchens.
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The Lexington shelter had been receiving between $500 and $800 worth of food monthly from the program, Currens said.
"We've been receiving this food for a long, long time — at least 20 years," she said.
Currens said that the federally funded food was not the only source of donations for the shelters and that the shelters would still receive food from food banks, but the shelters would definitely feel effects from the cut.
"A lot of times with food banks, there's going to be a large variety of what's available," she said. The commodities program "provided a lot of the staples, a lot of canned food and meats."
Currens said the 15 domestic violence programs in Kentucky sheltered more than 4,100 women and children last year. Three of the shelters did not receive commodities, Currens said.