By Carol Mills
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The Keavy Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 158, and the Ladies Auxiliary gave out 60 food baskets Friday to the widows of veterans who might otherwise have a lean Christmas.
Two baskets were also given to students at Keavy Elementary School.
“It’s (project) been going on a number of years, probably 10, 12, 15, but it always before was a turkey,” said Al Killian, a DAV member. This is the second year the organization gave both a turkey or a ham and a full meal. “For a number of years, we gave out 35 to 40 turkeys. Now it’s up to 60 families in the Corbin-London area, mostly London.”
Besides the meat, the food baskets contained a cake, cookies, Stove Top Stuffing, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, corn, peas, green beans, cranberry sauce, gravy, yams, and rolls.
“We pick out the people we give to through our membership, people we know,” Killian said. “We try to keep it in our community. Any widow of a veteran can get a basket. She doesn’t have to be low income. We actually have a couple of men that received baskets.”
The widows appreciated the food.
“My husband, Cletis Hensley, died five years ago, but he is still with me,” Jannie Hensley said. “This food means a lot to me. I’m on a fixed income and it really helps. I appreciate it.”
Pauline Black, the widow of Morris Black, said she wasn’t starving, but she appreciated the food.
“It means a lot,” she said. “It’s nice to know you’re thought of. I volunteered a lot when I was younger.”
Killian said their members brought in a designated food item every month for the past few months until December.
“Our membership brought in the food and, in December, our chapter bought the hams and turkeys,” Killian said. “We used the fundraising money we got from Walmart or Golden Corral or Kroger to help buy those hams and turkeys.”
The members delivered the food in their private vehicles to the recipients who were unable to come get their baskets from the DAV building, which is located next to Keavy Elementary School.
Charles Hayes said the Keavy DAV has been giving out turkeys for 15 years.
“Two years ago, a member of our ladies auxiliary, Brenda Killian, suggested we provide whole meals,” he said.
Killian said the members also help the students at Keavy Elementary School.
“We have been providing some coats and, hopefully in January, we hope to take a group over there once a week or so to work with children who might just need a buddy or need some help with reading. Anything we can do to help. They’re next to our chapter so they are the ones we need to support the most.”
The commander of Chapter 158 is Bill Jones, Irene Jones is the commander of the ladies and there are 132 members. The District 5 DAV commander is Birchel Baker. There are 16 chapters in the district.
Anyone wishing to donate to next year’s food baskets can call Brenda at 304-8020. Checks can be mailed to DAV Christmas Basket, 810 N. Laurel Lake Road, London, KY 40737.