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Hopkinsville YMCA bolsters feeding program following two donations

YMCA "Community Weekend Grab Bags" are distributed via repurposed newspaper racks.
Hoptown Chronicle
Jennifer P. Brown
YMCA "Community Weekend Grab Bags" are distributed via repurposed newspaper racks.

The Hopkinsville YMCA is adding a third pillar to its local feeding program after receiving donations from the Arby’s Foundation and Wood family.

In addition to existing youth programs, the YMCA will now provide bagged meal pickups on weekends for anyone who needs them through decommissioned newspaper racks. This expanded program is meant to address children beyond school bounds.

The YMCA will continue to distribute meals onsite at its Eagle Way Bypass facility and through Christian County Public Schools and Awana-affiliated church youth groups. Unlike those efforts, though, families won’t need to sign up for newspaper rack meals.

“We send meals home to certain kids selected through the youth service center,” said Amanda Crutchfield, programs and outreach director for the Hopkinsville YMCA. “Those children, if they’re not in school, may not have access to food on the weekends.”

The Wood family — previous stewards of the Kentucky New Era — gave the racks to the YMCA alongside a $4,000 donation from the Arby’s Foundation. Six of the 48 donated racks have already been sanded, painted and marked as pickup locations by Christian County Jail inmates.

“(The Wood family) were trying to think of a way to repurpose these and not just trash them, and that’s kind of where the idea came about,” Crutchfield said.

Locations include the Aaron McNeil House, Challenge houses 1, 4 and 5, Restoration House and Freeman Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Every Friday, YMCA employees plan to fill each rack with 20 meals for needful community members to collect over the weekend.

Anonymity was a key consideration in the rollout of this program.

“When they’re hungry and in need, they’re more than likely to just go get it if someone’s not there handing out,” Crutchfield said. “Maybe they’re too embarrassed to get a handout or something.”

The Hopkinsville YMCA distributed 40,467 hot meals last year and 5,795 backpacks this school year, according to previous reporting by WHOP.

“It’s the mission of the Y,” Crutchfield added.

Dustin Wilcox is a television production student at Murray State University. He graduated from Hopkinsville High School in 2019.
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