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Inside ACCESS Soup Kitchen and Men’s Shelter

“Inside ACCESS Soup Kitchen and Men’s Shelter” was produced during the 2023 Picture Kentucky Workshop in Frankfort, Kentucky, where students were randomly assigned subjects in the area to follow and complete a photo story over the course of four days.

The last two years of Brian Pedigo’s life have been nothing but uphill battles.

After the loss of his father and mother just three months later to cancer, Pedigo found himself seeking shelter in the ACCESS Soup Kitchen and Men’s Shelter in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Now, he’s running it.

“My place in the universe is so small … I feel that whatever I do affects other people, and that’s why I try to help,” Pedigo said. “I know I can’t do a lot, I can’t change the course of the world, but at least I can have a positive outcome on other people’s lives.”

Starting some mornings at 3 a.m., Pedigo works as the operations manager to assist in food pick ups, housing vouchers, rehabilitation and serving a hot lunch every day.

Pedigo welcomes anyone who needs to come in for the lunch service but the shelter houses just 16 men. Those staying are required to pass a variety of background and safety checks while also actively working or pursuing a career.

While ACCESS may be named as a shelter, Pedigo emphasized the community aspect inside and out. Local churches and members will volunteer and work alongside some of the men being housed. Efforts revolve around preparing, serving and cleaning up the soup kitchen, as well as daily housing tasks.

Throughout the day, Pedigo said he will step aside from his desk full of paperwork to interact with community members but at times can find himself struggling.

“Some days I wake up and get on my knees and pray for strength,” Pedigo said. “God put it in my heart to do this.”

Aside from putting his love and dedication into the shelter, he looks after his 11-year-old son, Bryan.

Pedigo has been fighting for full custody for the last year and a half after raising him for a majority of his life. Since the start, Pedigo said his son has been “exposed to too many adult things,” such as drug and alcohol use, along with abuse.

Pedigo said he hopes his next hearing will grant custody rights and give his son a future of happiness and health. 

Through both their personal relationship and time spent at ACCESS, Pedigo said he sees it as a “life learning experience” and will hopefully keep him on the right path.

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