“I didn’t realize there was such a need for this,” Tom Saunders says of his church’s food bank.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a desperate need for food banks, Tom, a 21-year member of Fleming-Mason Energy Cooperative’s board of directors, had started volunteering at the food bank program run by his church, May’s Lick Baptist.
Ronnie and Debbie Hilterbrand, also Fleming-Mason consumer-members, suggested the food bank two years ago, which grew to the point that 650-700 families showed up at each distribution. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the need was so great that the church banded together with others.
“My job is loading cars,” says Tom. “Demand is such now that we now pre-box everything and put it in cars. We don’t get the opportunity to interact with people as we did before COVID-19.”
Even so, Tom believes they are meeting a real need. “A speaker at the church once told us to find the one thing we do well as a church and do it,” he says. “This is the one thing we do well.”
Many people don’t realize all the services electric cooperatives offer, and according to Sandy Grogan, many also don’t realize all the services the YMCA provides.
Grogan, vice president of finance and accounting for Pennyrile Electric, volunteers as a member of the board for both the Hopkinsville/Christian County YMCA and United Way of the Pennyrile.
“During COVID-19, we not only need to keep members and survive,” says Sandy, “but continue to be a service of others. We are finding ways to serve, especially the children.”
The Y has served others on many fronts, including child care, but perhaps the most significant is its mobile feeding program.
“We now have seven locations,” says Sheryl Ellis, president and CEO of the Hopkinsville/Christian County YMCA. “We make meals and deliver meals to those locations. We delivered 180 meals one day, but the number continues to grow. All children 18 and younger are able to participate.
“These are healthy meals. Every meal has fruits and vegetables. Kids are trying food they didn’t think they liked and finding out they enjoy them.”
Sandy and Sheryl both say everyone is pitching in to meet the needs and develop more programs.