In June, Boyle County had an unemployment rate of 9.8 percent, according to the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. That’s more than the national average, which is 8.4 percent.
“Everyone is just a job away from being in the same position I am in,” Diana Dawson, who benefits from the services provided at Harvesting Hope, said.
For individuals like Dawson, sometimes a good meal is hard to find. That’s where Harvesting Hope comes in.
The organization’s soup kitchen fed 942 people in the month of August, while the food pantry served 1,392, without duplicating. “People are allowed to get food from the food pantry only once a month,” Victoria Murphy said. She serves as the manager.
Lately, the numbers of people served seems to be increasing, according to Murphy, who can’t pinpoint a reason. Aug. 15 marked the one year anniversary at the present location on 4th Street. The organization moved there from its previous location on Fryes Lane. The new location is more noticeable, according to Murphy, which could be part of the increase, however, “there are always more people,” she said.
While both the soup kitchen and the food pantry are part of the Harvesting Hope organization, they do not share resources. The two ministries are kept separate, except in situations of overflow. “If there is an abundance of food, like onions, carrots, peppers,” they will pull for the soup kitchen, Murphy explains, but they refrain from pulling canned food items.
According to the organization’s website, harvestinghopeky.org, the goal is to “reduce the hunger in Boyle County through community cooperation … ” This means the organization relies heavily on the help of the community.
“We have a lot of places that volunteer. A lot of places volunteer financially, too,” Murphy said. Financially volunteering includes donating food items to the Harvesting Hope Food Pantry.
Some of the volunteers come from within those benefitting from the ministry resources, too.
“I love this place, I love the food, I love the companionship,” Dawson said. She uses the food pantry and the soup kitchen. Dawson also believes “it’s our responsibility to help how we can,” speaking of herself and others who benefit from the ministry’s services.
To volunteer with Harvesting Hope ministries, contact Sandy Fields at (859) 324-6098.
For donations, contact Murphy at (859) 319-0263. Information can also be found about the ministry at harvestinghopeky.org.