Community comes together to feed the needy

Published 1:28 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Jessamine County Fire District is proud to announce that this year’s annual Thanksgiving Food Drive for the needy was a great success.

Each year, volunteers from around the county come together and help make this happen. This year, the drive was able to fill over 250 boxes (including turkeys) for Jessamine County families that could use an extra blessing this holiday season.

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Fire district Chaplain Billy Holland helped organize the event this season, but is quick to point out that it truly takes a village to accomplish such a massive project.

“I just want to say thank you to all the volunteers that gave their time to come and help put the boxes together and give them out,” Holland said. “There are so many details associated with this and we appreciate everyone who had a part in it. I know that many families in our community were encouraged to receive the boxes and all of us are very happy and excited to be a part of this outreach.”

Holland added that it was heart-warming to hear the people telling the volunteers ‘God bless you,’  and how much it meant to them. During the morning, he said the team looked up to see a nice lady who had received a box earlier coming back to bring a box of donuts and a beautiful card saying how much she appreciated the blessing.

With the County Fire District providing the support and the location, they join together with many volunteers simply because they want to help families. There are many elderly, as well as those that cannot drive for health reasons, that could use a box of food for the holidays. Holland said that they are very aware that sadly, there are many children in their community that are hungry.

“It’s emotional when we see children reach into the box and open the jar of peanut butter and eat it with their fingers,” Holland explained. “These are the times when you realize there is a huge need all around us and one of the driving forces behind why so many people have volunteered to help make the food drives possible. We do not need to travel to third world countries to see desperate situations, we have them right here in our own county.”

Holland points out no one gets paid and there is no tax money involved for this independent ministry. Individuals provide personal trucks and trailers to transport the food, and others use their own vehicles to deliver boxes all over the county. In addition, a handful of other team members have been planning, taking applications and raising funds since September in order to make sure there was enough money to buy the food. It takes at least $8,000 for each event.

“With God’s blessing, many local businesses and individuals contributed and the old saying is true, that if everyone gives a little, we can accomplish a lot,” Holland said. “With Thanksgiving finished, the team is now trying to see about the possibility to do the same thing for Christmas.”  He said that if they cannot raise the necessary funds for Christmas, they will just use what they have in the fund as a head start for next Thanksgiving.

Every holiday season, this food drive provides food boxes for both holidays, but this year the donations have not been as bountiful as they usually are. Anyone who is interested in contributing to the Christmas food drive may contact Chaplain Holland through his email at The charity is tax deductible, and the team of volunteers would love to do this again but must raise the funding to provide a Christmas box or turkey this year. And, he reiterates, there are locals who could use it.

“From a Christian view, this is not the time to condemn or judge the reasons behind the circumstances because we are to leave that to God,” Holland said. “Sure, there are always a few people who take advantage, but the majority are good people that could really use some extra help. With the current drug epidemic, many grandparents have accepted the responsibility to help raise their grandchildren because their children are involved with drugs.

“This is just one example of the many different types of struggles people are facing.”