In order to serve hundreds of hungry families every month, Bowling Park Food Pantry in Edmonton, Ky., needs to store up to 5,000 pounds of meat and produce. The charity has struggled to find storage space.
Thanks to a grant from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Lenten Rice Bowl Collection the food pantry can purchase a walk-in cooler to store the food.
Money collected during the annual Rice Bowl fundraiser and the Catholic Relief Services collection primarily funds the work of the U.S. church overseas. A quarter of the funds, however, remain in the Archdiocese of Louisville to benefit local charities.
The 2017 collection yielded $113,400 — $28,350 remained in the archdiocese to help Bowling Park Food Pantry and five other non-profit groups, said Deacon Lucio Caruso of Catholic Charities, which distributes the grants locally.
Lisa Boswell, executive director of Bowling Park Food Pantry, said in an interview earlier this month that the pantry has seen a large increase in the number of people it serves. It used to be open two days a month, but now serves families five days a week.
Edmonton, Ky., lies 40 miles north of the Tennessee border and about 60 miles east of Bowling Green, Ky. Southcentral Kentucky used to be known for its tobacco farms, Boswell noted, but with tobacco farming on the decline, many people are in need.
Hundreds of people seeking food
assistance are senior citizens, many of them widows who spent their lives helping their husbands cultivate the land, she said.
“They worked so hard farming their entire lives, then they retire and get so little in return,” Boswell said.
The pantry has been in “desperate need of someplace to accommodate” food, so the grant for the cooler is an “incredible blessing,” said Boswell.
Deacon Caruso said there’s a great need for assistance outside Jefferson County. Four of the groups that received grants from the 2017 collection operate outside Jefferson County.
He hopes these grants show those in need that “they are really a part of this archdiocese,” said Deacon Caruso.
The Edmonton food pantry is located on a community-oriented campus known as Bowling Park that includes picnic pavilions, a gym, a historic home, recreational areas and a homeless shelter. It was founded by the late Father George K. Bowling as a ministry to the people of Metcalfe County in the 1970s.
Father Bowling was a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville and the founding pastor of Good Shepherd Church in Columbia, Ky. His vision for Bowling Park was to combine social services with recreation, said Boswell, noting the park is a unique place. Father Bowling died in 2002.
Five other groups that received funds from the CRS collection are:
n Room in the Inn, Nelson County, Ky., provides emergency overnight shelter and a hot meal to the homeless. It received $7,000 for its programs. The ministry is a partnership between Bethany Haven transitional homeless shelter, St. Vincent de Paul and churches in Nelson County.
n Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland, received $6,000, which was used to provide weekend food for needy children in kindergarten through grade 12 in 15 counties.
n The Caring Place’s “Life Begins at 60” program in Lebanon, Ky., received $4,000. “Life Begins at 60” helps senior citizens who have fled domestic violence find affordable housing. It also helps them fill out paperwork for Medicare and social security benefits.
n Good Shepherd Church’s Table of Plenty ministry received $7,000 for its monthly event where residents of the West End gather to share a fresh, nutritious meal for free.
n The Cathedral of the Assumption ID program received $1,350. The program helps homeless people and those “at risk” of becoming homeless obtain a Kentucky state identification card. The program also helps people obtain birth certificates and social security cards.
Non-profits interested in receiving a grant may apply for 2018 funding through June 11. For more information on the grants and how to apply, contact Deacon Caruso at 637-9786 or firstname.lastname@example.org.