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Feeding of the 400

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By Kristin Beck

Four-hundred needy families in Carroll County received food and toiletry items Tuesday, June 11, through Feed the Children and Speedway Children’s Charities.

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Almost 90 volunteers came to Carroll County High School Tuesday morning to help organize and distribute the food and supplies. Speedway Children’s Charities Kentucky Chapter Director Dayna Winslette said it was the largest group of volunteers they had ever had for a food distribution. “It’s great to have so many groups volunteering who want to help the families here,” she said. Normally, there are about 10-20 volunteers who come to help.

Speedway Children’s Charities has eight chapters, and the Kentucky Chapter will host 10food distributions this year, Winslette said.

“Carrollton is only 15 miles away, so they were definitely on the top of our minds,” she said. While locations like Louisville and Cincinnati regularly receive help, the organization also wanted to help smaller areas that are not always on the top of the list, she said.

Speedway Children’s Charities also will hold a food distribution in Owenton on June 13 and in Warsaw on June 27.

Winslette said Becky Smith, assistant chapter director for Speedway Children’s Charities, got the ball rolling by reaching out to the Carrollton Rotary Club, which had volunteered last year at the NASCAR Nationwide Feed the Children 300 last year. She contacted Rotary President Matt Lipe and asked if they would be interested in receiving a food distribution, and he said yes.

Carroll County Ministerial Association President Chris White, also a Rotarian, said he received the first phone call to begin organizing the event. He worked with Smith in finding a central location in town to host the distribution, as well as finding groups of volunteers and identifying the families in need, Winslette said.

White said he called Carroll County Head Start and Robin Huesman and Cydney Conley with Family Ties for their assistance in getting names. He also consulted the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office Christmas present list, the food pantry Christmas basket list and Carrollton Housing Authority Executive Director Ray Clem’s list. The names were consolidated into a master list of about 370 families all living in Carroll County, White said. Then, he and other pastors added a few more names to round out the 400 families.

Volunteers came from numerous churches and organizations, including Kentucky Utilities, Dow Corning, Carrollton Rotary Club, the ministerial association, Carroll County Schools and Carroll County High School football team.

“We’ve got a remarkable turnout,” White said.

Kentucky Utilities and Carroll County Schools provided forklifts to help stack the boxes of food. Carrollton Police Department and Carroll County Sheriff’s Office coordinated the traffic flow into the high school parking lot. Cars entered from the main entrance on Hwy. 227 and formed two drive-through lanes in front of the school. Volunteers placed the supplies into the trunks and back seats of the vehicles, and the vehicles exited past Cartmell Elementary and on to Highland Avenue.

Each family received one box of non-perishable food items, one box of toiletries and children’s books, four containers of chicken broth and two flats of 24 jars of applesauce.

Volunteers arrived at 8 a.m. to begin unloading the boxes. The distribution was held from 10 a.m. to noon. Usually 250-300 families show up to the distribution, Winslette said. However, she was optimistic that more would show because of how well the Carroll County volunteers organized the event.

The food not distributed was delivered to the community food pantry, housed at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, so all of the food stayed in Carroll County.

“It’s a substantial amount, not just for the individual family, but for the ongoing needs at the food bank,” White said.

Winslette said Smith came to Carrollton the week before and walked through the process with White, explaining how to set up the boxes, the flow of traffic, etc., which helps everything run smoother, Winslette said.

Vouchers were given to the Head Start families during their exit interviews, while the rest were either mailed or hand-delivered around May 10-11, White said.

“By distributing 400 vouchers and identifying particular families, it makes it so you don’t run out and have to turn people away,” Winslette said.

Feed the Children’s partners provide the majority of the supplies throughout the year for the food distributions, Winslette said.
Speedway Children’s Charities holds fundraisers throughout the year to pay for the food distributions, she said.

On June 27, they will host a charity clay shoot at Elk Creek Hunt Club in Owenton, she said. Companies will bring groups to participate, and celebrities, including NASCAR drivers and the “Turtle Man” will shoot with them. Lunch and entertainment will also be provided.

Winslette said they will also hold a live auction during NASCAR race week leading up to the Quaker State 400 June 29, and donors have the opportunity to participate in the lap parade with their favorite driver before the race. They will also host “Laps for Charity” in September where people can drive their personal vehicle around the track and have their picture taken in Victory Lane for a donation.