There are many aspects of the Laurel community that are often overlooked.
The role of a local newspaper reporter, however, is to highlight those events and bring their stories to life for the readers.
Recent events have allowed an even deeper appreciation of the generosity of the people of this area.
Last Thursday, I was set to cover the Thanksgiving Basket Brigade at God's Pantry Food Bank, located on East Fourth Street. The event was the first-ever for London, and it certainly made an impact on organizers and volunteers who gathered to lend a helping hand.
The conveyor belt was truly a lifesaver for those trying to pack the food items into the boxes. From those who unfolded the cardboard into boxes to those who taped, labeled and stacked the boxes of food onto pallets, the entire event was an amazing effort of good-heartedness that is often not found in the world we know today.
It was heartwarming to see all the volunteers, so concentrated and dedicated to helping those less fortunate. The volunteers stood at their designated spots along the assembly line, carefully checking each box to ensure that each box had the proper amount of food. Those at the end of the line were just as dedicated, making sure that each box was carefully taped and labels applied. The end of the line workers had the difficult job of pulling each box off the line and stacking them onto the pallets.
I first decided to lend a hand and helped put the turkey gravy mixes into the boxes. But when I noticed the end of the line was becoming overloaded, I moved down to help apply labels.
As the boxes mounted up, the Lexington God's Pantry director, Mike Halligan, counted out 50 boxes of food per pallet. In just 20 minutes, the first group of volunteers had already assembled 200 boxes of the allocated 500 boxes. It took only 45 minutes for the group to complete their task. The second group began arriving to complete the remaining 500 boxes to reach the 1,000 mark. That food will now be distributed next week to families across the southeastern Kentucky region who might not otherwise have a good Thanksgiving meal.
This Saturday, another group of volunteers will gather at St. William Catholic Church to do the same thing - this time strictly for Laurel County residents. The annual Thanksgiving Food Baskets will be assembled on Saturday and distributed on Monday for families in the area who also may need a helping hand for their holiday meals.
This week I learned of another mission for Sandra and Kenneth Wolff, who operate Peace in the Valley Ministries. Sandra contacted me to inform the public of their hope to provide Thanksgiving dinner to those first responders who are sacrificing their holiday with family to be on call for the public who might need their help. The Wolffs are taking their Thanksgiving to the Courthouse Annex Room to serve those who serve the public and are needing the help of the community to do so. The Wolffs are gathering monetary and food donations but will need help in cooking and serving the food to those who dedicate their lives to serve others in times of need. Anyone interested is urged to contact them at (606) 657-2344 or at email@example.com.
Through these ventures, the spirit of love and concern for others is prevalent in the citizens of London and Laurel County. There are so many people who are willing to share, willing to give, for others - most often, people they don't even know.
And from personal experience, the feeling of giving to a good cause is the best way to feel good about yourself.