By Jennifer Moonsong
Central Division, General Manager, Jobe Publishing, Inc.
The holiday season can be a joyous time, but for many, it can also be a time of stress, especially for those struggling to provide.
“Not only do people not have money to prepare Christmas dinner, but they have kids and the kids are out of school for two whole weeks. That’s two week’s worth of breakfasts and lunches those parents have to provide their children with,” said Lisa Boswell, Director of Bowling Park.
For many years, under Boswell’s drive and direction, the food pantry at Bowling Park has been a place of refuge and relief for people in Metcalfe County who are struggling, from the elderly to people making their way through times of personal crisis.
This year, 200 food baskets are going to Metcalfe County families in need. That number is comparable to recent years.
“The basket has everything to prepare Christmas dinner including a ham, and food for four or five days,” said Boswell.
The park purchases hams with its own private funding and the other food is acquired via Feed America.
Items such as pancake mix and syrup, cereal, peanut butter dry goods like beans and rice, macaroni and cheese, tuna and pasta are included.
The families that receive the baskets are chosen based on referrals.
“The police department, fire department, permanency and protection, and the school system, as well as landlords, refer people to us who they feel I need the baskets,” said Boswell. Those potential recipients then receive a letter letting them know that they may pick up a basket. The baskets were handed out on December 17 and 18.
That’s not to say that Bowling Park is only generous at Christmas time. To the contrary, the park helps to feed many families, including lots of senior citizens.
People who stay at the Bowling Park shelter also eat from the food pantry.
“There will be families at the shelter over the Christmas holiday,” Boswell said.
The shelter hasn’t been without residents in many months. Some of those there are transient, but the majority of the temporary residents who Boswell helps to rehabilitate into society are from neighboring counties without shelters to house their homeless.
Volunteer Cynthia Roach and park employee Mickey Condari loading boxes of food at the food pantry located at Bowling Park. Thanks to grant money, the pantry has a walk in freezer, which makes having more fresh, perishable food possible.