Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II and his administration decided to use the annual employee Thanksgiving meal to help support the Emergency Food Pantry of Franklin County. 

This year, employees were invited to the annual Thanks For Giving luncheon with a new twist: bring a canned good. The faculty, staff and administration didn’t disappoint, bringing over 500 canned goods to donate to the food pantry.

“We want this to add to this experience and not just give to each other and give within the campus walls, but one of the things that I am profoundly committed to is that Kentucky State should be a steward of place and that we have the responsibility to serve the community in which we are situated in,” President Brown said. “So, beginning this year, we will be holding a canned food drive at the Thanks For Giving luncheon.”

Sonia Sanders, assistant vice president for public engagement and community outreach, thanked the faculty and staff for supporting the initiative.

“We all know of individuals that need,” Sanders said. “Thank you so much for stepping up because it is evident that we care not only about each other but also for our communities. I am grateful to each of you here at Kentucky State who have provided for a very worthy cause.”

Jim Jackson, a board member at the Emergency Food Pantry of Franklin County, spoke on behalf of the organization.

“I want you to think about this: have you ever been hungry with no food or no money to buy food?” Jackson said. “I want you to think about the stress that could bring to a family.”

Jackson said in 2016, over 9,000 individuals received food assistance in Franklin County.

“Now you’re thinking: not in Franklin County,” Jackson said. “How can we have hunger in what appears to be a pretty prosperous community. But it exists.”

Jackson said there are three ways community members can help those in need: refer an individual or family in need to a local church or the Salvation Army for food assistance (who will then go through the food pantry to assist), give food or a monetary donation to the food pantry or volunteer time at the pantry.

He said the food pantry relies on a network of approximately 50 volunteers and no one receives compensation.

N’Namdi Paskins, Enterprise system administrator, summarized his thoughts on the partnership through the Bible.

“Each one should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms,” Paskins said, referring to 1 Peter 4:10. “So basically, whatever we have we should be willing to share. Obviously, this is a great opportunity for Kentucky State faculty, staff and students to help out.”

Rayla Smoot, director of human resources, said the partnership with the food pantry was a positive move by the University.

“It’s a great opportunity to show them how much we care about our community and how much we want to be a part of making it a better place,” Smoot said.

For more information about the Emergency Food Pantry of Franklin County, visit them online at frankfortfoodpantry.org.

Grocery donations are accepted Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. at the food pantry warehouse at 102 Lakeview Court in Frankfort.