Dinner donations bring thanks

Amanda Bryant

With Thanksgiving next Thursday, a center at UK is looking to help those in need.

The UK Center for Community Outreach will be putting together Thanksgiving meal baskets to help the less fortunate, and to honor National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week, according to the organization’s website. 

The baskets are made up of all the items and ingredients needed to have a thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings. Homeless students in the Fayette County Public School system, residents in the Hope Centers Housing First program, as well as others in need will be the recipients of the baskets according to the website. 

The baskets will be picked up through the remainder of the week, the last day being Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. The drop off location for a basket is Blazer Dining Hall, room 361.

There were roughly 795 homeless Fayette County School system students accounted for in the 2014-2015 school year, according to an article by The Lexington Herald-Leader. That number rises each year with only 393 accounted for in the 2011-2012 school year. 

According to an analysis of federal education data done by Herald-Leader in 2015, there were an estimated 30,000 homeless students statewide, which is higher than any other state in the nation. 

The items needed to build a basket are instant mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, boxed stuffing, and $15 cash or gift card contained in an envelope to buy the turkey; these items are essential to the basket. Additional side items include corn or green beans, desserts like vanilla pudding or wafers.

The checklist on the website also includes toiletries like shampoo and toothpaste. Additional items that may be included are a football, small games and a Happy Thanksgiving card. 

The UK Center for Community Outreach has been able to donate 59 or more baskets for Thanksgiving meals to the homeless in Fayette County in past years according to BlueCoast Live, a blog operated by UK journalism students.

In an April interview with BlueCoast Live, Ginny Ramsey, founder of the Catholic Action Center that works with the Housing First program said, “Until you see the face of poverty and understand the humanity behind it, why are you going to care?” 

You can find more information on the Thanksgiving basket program and the other UK Center for Community Outreach program at www.ukcco.org