Volunteers and Heart of Kentucky United Way provide duffel bags with winter essentials

Published 9:36 am Friday, December 22, 2023

By Lance Gaither


On Dec. 14, the Heart of Kentucky United Way and several volunteers worked together to pack 130 duffel bags full of essentials to help the local homeless population face the cold weather of winter. Items in the bags include winter clothing and emergency survival sleeping bags.

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“The turnout was better than expected, we filled up our front two rooms with people from all over and different organizations,” said HKUW Resource Development Director Amber Gammon. “We got it done in an hour or hour-and-a- half which is amazing. The duffel bags are going to be distributed to several organizations throughout our community. We also made some emergency kits for police departments as well.”

The idea to provide duffel bags started with discussions between Heart of Kentucky United Way and the Boyle County Health Department about the homeless population in Boyle County.

“It just blew up from there,” Gammon said. “We did not expect the turnout. We expected just a few volunteers and for it to be an all day event or follow up through the week to get it done. We had 16 volunteers total.”

Danville’s homeless population has been an ongoing issue in the community. It is currently estimated that more than 100 unhoused people reside in Boyle County. Police say there are six homeless encampments in the county.

“Heart of Kentucky United Way receives multiple calls a day from homeless people looking for shelter and resources,” said HKUW Executive Director Stephanie Blevins. “Our first step at HKUW is to meet as many of their basic needs as possible. We have been able to provide some temporary shelter in a local hotel in the past, but know there is so much more that needs to be done. The HKUW Board of Directors has set aside some funding to purchase items needed for the essential items duffel bags. We could not provide these without the support and generosity of our community donors. We are very fortunate that our communities truly care about those who live and work here. Together we can transform our communities and change lives.”