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Thanksgiving spirit in action: Volunteers make a difference at community food center

December 7, 2023

Pikeville district employees came together last month to volunteer at a meal center where they helped feed more than a thousand people a hot Thanksgiving lunch.

The volunteers arrived at the East Kentucky Dream Center in Pikeville armed with compassion and goodwill and a $300 donation from the AEP Caring Together Volunteer Funding Program. The Pikeville faith-based charitable organization provides food and clothing to anyone in need across eastern Kentucky and beyond.

Vanessa Phillips, Pikeville district’s senior administrative assistant who organized the group of volunteers for the Thanksgiving event, said she has volunteered with the Dream Center for several years because she doesn’t believe anyone should go hungry.

"Once when our WINUP group was there helping serve, an elderly man came in that had just been released from the hospital. He was still in a hospital gown, and it was November, and it was cold,” she remembered.

The man, she said, had taken a cab to the Dream Center because he knew the director, Rachel Campbell, would take care of him. That story ended with the man receiving food, clothing and a bus ticket to get him back home.

“I have never seen them turn anybody away when I have been there,” Phillips said.

During the Thanksgiving lunch, Phillips said volunteers served people from a local homeless shelter and veteran’s center; the elderly, widows and widowers; first responders, and anyone who walked in off the streets who needed a hot meal.

a group of volunteers

According to the East Kentucky Dream Center, more than 26,000 people in Johnson, Martin, Floyd, Pike and Letcher counties are considered food-insecure, including 25% of the child population in these areas. The center provides hot meals and food boxes to anyone in need.

“All of the volunteers that we have worked with have always been so nice and pleasant. Everybody works together as a team to serve the people,” Phillips said. “When you leave the center, you’re tired because so many meals have been prepared, but you are smiling and feel good that you have been a part of such a worthy cause.”

To learn more about the East Kentucky Dream Center, visit www.ekdc.info.


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