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Lexington charities prepare for holidays amid pandemic

Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 5:17 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The pandemic has made things difficult for charities by increasing the amount of people who are in need, and decreasing the ways people can help.

“We worked with a very small group of folks, including the National Guard, who helped us build about 5,800 boxes in six days in a group of 10 to 20 people,” God’s Pantry CEO Michael Halligan said.

The pandemic changed how God’s Pantry Food Bank prepared for its annual Sharing Thanksgiving program. Halligan says they’re also helping more people than ever before.

“Approximately 20% more folks are experiencing hunger over the past six to eight months than what we’ve seen historically,” Halligan said.

The Kentucky National Guard has been called in to help with several different situations surrounding COVID-19, including helping families get ready for Thanksgiving.

“This is something that’s extremely powerful and it really shows that just a little bit of help with us packing simple boxes is making someone’s actual Thanksgiving meal happen,” 2nd Lt. Trae Cardwell said.

Even after Thanksgiving passes, charities are expecting more challenges for Christmas.

“We’re calling this ‘abbreviated COVID Christmas,’” Catholic Action Center Director Ginny Ramsey said.

The Catholic Action Center is already working on its Christmas store. While they usually rely on donations, they can’t do that anymore. With a limited supply, families will have to sign up for Santa Bags, and pick them up in a drive-thru format.

“We’re going to do all we can in order to have the safe yet joyful and connected holiday season,” Ramsey said.

While so much has changed in 2020, the one thing that won’t change is the spirit of giving.

People in need of food assistance can visit the food bank’s website.

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