By: Lisa Robinson - Associate Editor
On Monday, March 22, 2021, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints partnered with Partnership Housing, Inc. in Owsley County to distribute food and water to families affected by the flooding that occurred on March 1, 2021. The give away took place at the county garage on County Barn Road. It was open to everyone. Everyone was asked to bring a box or basket in their vehicle in which the food items would be placed.
When I arrived at the location, people were lined up in their cars down the hill. They were asked to drive thru and the volunteers would load the items into their vehicles. There were 40 volunteers from as far away as 2 hours. They were from the Lexington area and surrounding counties. Laura Davis, church communication director for the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints said our church is big into supporting areas that have had natural disasters. We were able to bring in a semi last week that had 16 pallets of water and cleaning kits that had all the cleaning necessities in it. This last week we brought in a semi that had 43,000 pounds of food. That is 40,000 cans and products that will be disbursed among Owsley County.
Laura stated that there is a website called “Just Serve” where agencies like Partnership Housing can go and put in their needs. Laura stated that she had seen that Cassie Hudson had put on the “Just Serve” website that Owsley County needed help after the recent flood. Then volunteers, regardless of their religion, go on this website and find things that might fit the need of their family for serving. “When we asked for 40 volunteers, we had them very quickly. We have volunteers that want to come monthly now and help distribute the commodities to the elderly. Today, our goal is to help 800 families,” said Laura.
The church has farms all over the United States. They grow the food, then process and package it themselves. This is all done by volunteers. “We (the church) believe in loving and helping our neighbors, whoever they are and wherever they live,” said Laura. The food that was brought to Owsley County came from Salt Lake City, Utah. There were a total of seven trucks brought to the flooded areas of eastern Kentucky. These included water, cleaning kits, food and hygiene kits. They went to Owsley County, Lee County, Ravena (Estill County)and Clay City (Powell County).”
Cassie Hudson, with Partnership Housing, Inc. stated that this was the largest one day food distribution in the history of Owsley County. There were pallets of water, peaches, applesauce, peanut butter, tuna, beef stew, corn and chunk beef, just to name a few. Each family got so many cans of each item as they drove through and the volunteers loaded their vehicles. There was even one from Owsley County among the volunteers. His name is Wesley Angel. His wife, Tracie, was with him as they both worked to help deliver food to the families of his hometown.
The Owsley County garage workers helped direct traffic, move pallets with the forklift and even got one vehicle out of the ditch. There was a very good turnout for this event. By the way, they ended up serving 987 families by the end of the day. They passed their goal.