A Helping Hand at Christmas

Family Service Society

Family Service Society (FSS) of Paducah, the second oldest assistance agency in the region, is celebrating their 90th anniversary. Here’s a startling statistic that FSS Development Director Amy Taylor Nolan recently told me – “McCracken County has a $5 million deficit in meeting all of the food insecurities of the county each year.”

“What we spend on lunch for a day out with our friends would allow an agency such as FSS to supply diapers for a struggling single mother with disabled child, that WIC cut off this week when he turned five-years-old. Or, we could supply 10-12 meals for someone that only makes $758 a month and only gets $15 in food stamps. I think about that statistic every time I whine about the cost of the food I choose to buy.  I invite everyone to volunteer with us so they can see the need and how they can help.”

"How we can help?"

The best way to support FSS help local families is by supporting them financially. The need is our area is at a critical point, exacerbated by the impending holidays. They accept monetary donations through cash, check, credit and debit card. You can also make a donation in honor or in memory of someone you love.

Time is a precious commodity these days and FSS is always a need for volunteers at the center to help with their clothing closet, collecting, sorting and distributing canned food, and other daily activities. They need extra volunteers during the holiday season.

FSS Seasonal Help

FSS provides Christmas Assistance Baskets to approximately 300 seniors and disabled adults - an often overlooked population, but a growing one with the many aging baby boomers in our community. These baskets must be filled, wrapped, and distributed. This is definitely an event where the public can participate and volunteer.

Clothing Closet, Food & Personal Pantry

Physical donations of clothing, food and personal toiletry items are always accepted. FSS has a “clothing closet” that is open two days a week on Tuesday and Thursday. All the clothing is free to its clients. Donors may drop off the clothing at the center and receive a tax receipt. They also welcome any non-perishable items for their food pantry.

FSS offers personal items to its clients. You can donate personal products such as shampoo, conditioner, men’s and women’s razors, toothbrushes and toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels, soap, lotion, and deodorant. These items are always needed in the FSS “personal pantry” for clients to receive. Find out more at familyservicesociety.com.

Paducah Cooperative Ministry

The Paducah Cooperative Ministry (PCM) seeks to do God’s work with human hands by bringing together individuals and resources to respond to basic human needs and conditions in McCracken County.

PCM's Food Pantry serves an average of just over 450 households a month. "The PCM Food Pantry served over 400 households in October,” Karen Burton, PCM's Emergency Services Coordinator told me. “No one should have to go hungry in America - the Land of Plenty."

Monetary donations are always welcome, but they are in dire need of the following items for the holiday season.

Non-Perishable Foods:

Canned Carrots, Corn, & Green Beans, Canned Pumpkin & Sweet Potatoes, Instant Potatoes, Macaroni & Cheese, Stuffing Mix, Quick/Instant Oats, Cranberry Sauce, Sweetened Condensed Milk & Evaporated Milk, Cooking Oil, Corn Muffin Mix, Flour, Chicken Broth, Salt & Pepper, Brown Sugar, Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar & White Granulated Sugar, Cake Mixes, Dessert Mixes, & Cake Frosting.

Beverages:

Tea & Coffee, Apple Juice, Hot Chocolate, Drink Mixes, & Ensure Nutritional Drinks.

Perishable Foods:

Butter, Milk, Eggs, & Turkey or Ham.

(Ideally because of lack of storage, they’d like to receive these items the week of 12/18)

Non-Food Items:

Aluminum Foil & Saran Wrap

PCM doesn’t offer "Christmas baskets" through the PCM Food Pantry, but they do accept food donations that are related to the holidays and include them in the pantry bags when we have them. While many of us take basic items like salt, flour, sugar and cooking oil for granted when fixing a holiday meal, those items are luxury items for some families. 

Toys/gifts for children living in PCM’s Fresh Start Village for homeless women & children, particularly gifts for teens are also needed.

"Our PCM shelter staff works very hard to make sure the women and children at the Fresh Start Village have a wonderful Christmas,” Alexa Hammonds, PCM's Housing & Homeless Case Manager added. “All food and gift donations go a long way in making that happen."

Hammonds prepares boxes of food for the residents for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The box includes the food pantry basics, of course, like green beans and corn ... but then also the "extras" like cake mix and cooking oil, milk, butter and eggs, and even a donated turkey or ham. Each residential unit at the Village has a completely furnished kitchen so the ladies and families living there fix their own holiday meal to enjoy.  

Visit paducahcoopministry.org/ for more information.