Lexington Community Foundation’s Give BIG Lexington initiative distributed checks on Thursday to five non-profit organizations involved in the weekly food distribution program in Lexington this past year. Orthman Manufacturing has had a hand in it since it’s beginning as a corporate partner.
Orthman CEO John McCoy said the origins started back in May as their COVID team developed protocols for the company. After that, they began looking at how they could assist the Lexington community during the pandemic. They connected with a program called Hot Meals USA to provide meals in the community. At the conclusion of that program, they were connected with a USDA food box distribution program called Farmers to Families.
The distribution takes place on Thursdays at the St. Ann’s Parish Center parking lot. Anyone is welcome to volunteer for the distribution but, primary organizations have included St.Ann’s Catholic Church, Lexington Police Department, Lexington Rotary Club, Lexington Regional Health Center and Orthman Community YMCA. An open tent is set up for two lanes of traffic to drive through and have the food boxes loaded in their vehicle. The food includes milk, canned goods, meat, along with fruit and vegetables.
As volunteers prepared for Thursday’s distribution McCoy remarked that he’s “never been so happy and proud to be in a community” where everybody cares, has big hearts and plentiful with volunteers.
McCoy estimates they serve from 650 to 700 households each week but, sometimes the number has approached 900 “and so it’s meaningful, it’s impactful. There’s no doubt about it.”
McCoy says it’s rewarding to see the gratitude and appreciation of the recipients. From time to time they’ll see participants who have signs telling them “thank you” and give them the thumbs up signal. “It’s very heartwarming for sure”, he concluded.
As part of Give BIG Lexington day Thursday, the Lexington Community Foundation distributed special appreciation grants to five organizations who have assisted and volunteered for the food distribution events this past year in Lexington. Foundation Executive Director Jackie Berke addressed the volunteers before Thursday’s distribution started saying “you have continually helped us line up volunteers. You’ve been there when I call in ‘desperation’ for a need of some extra volunteers and we just want you to know we really appreciate you.”
The recipients included $10,000 to St. Ann’s Catholic Church, $5,000 to Lexington Police Department and $1,500 each to Lexington Rotary Club, Orthman Community YMCA and Lexington Regional Health Center.