Vigil to commemorate the death of Bobby Ellis

The Dare to Care Food Bank and Interfaith Paths to Peace are sponsoring this year’s gathering to remember the Thanksgiving Eve tragedy that inspired community leaders to create Dare to Care.

On Thanksgiving Eve in 1969, nine-year-old Bobby Ellis was found dead of malnutrition near downtown Louisville. He weighed just 20 pounds.

Bobby Ellis was found near the corner of Hodge and Eddy streets, and this year to commemorate that horrible event, Dare to Care and Interfaith Paths to Peace are inviting the public to a free event at 7 p.m. Nov. 26 at the Kentucky Center for African-American Heritage, 1701 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.

From there, people will be given candles and invited to walk about a half-mile to the corner where Bobby Ellis was found.

When news of his death became widely known, religious leaders from multiple faiths united to rally the community to “dare to care” about the hungry and poor. Churches and other nonprofit agencies mobilized to get food to needy families, and soon it became obvious that an organization was needed to lead and coordinate the effort.

Out of that need grew the Dare to Care Food Bank, and the work of that organization and its anti-hunger allies have, for the past 45 years, been Bobby Ellis’ legacy, said a news release from the charity.

Dare to Care, the release said, has distributed more than 15 million meals in eight Kentucky and five Indiana counties. The organization also operates 25 Kids’ Cafes in neighborhoods across the city, and also has a “Backpack Buddy” weekend nutrition program in 36 elementary schools.

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