Photo by Ben Kleppinger (bkleppinger@amnews.com)

Since 2011, the Kentucky State BBQ Festival has contributed $135,000.+ to support the works of the Heart of Kentucky United Way.

“The money was generated through the yearly art auction last year and a percentage of everything that happens at the festival,” said Susan Hensley with the Heart of Kentucky United Way.

“The festival always gives some money to the organization,” Hensley said.

“(The BBQ Festival) has been our friend and supporter since the beginning and we certainly appreciate that,” said Allen White, president of the United Way. “The things that you guys do — you make people’s lives better.”

This year, Hensley said, the art auction will be on Sept. 9. Businesses, individuals and organizations can sponsor a piece or more for the art auction. For the first two years, artists decorated barrels; for the last two years, artists decorated canvas; and this year, they will use pallets.

“It’s really cool stuff,” Hensley said. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

More information will be released about the auction at a later date, she said.

Photo by Ben Kleppinger (bkleppinger@amnews.com)

Board members for the Kentucky State BBQ Festival present a check for $30,022.97 to the Heart of Kentucky United Way during a celebratory dinner event at Dr. John and Cindi Lacy’s house in Danville on Thursday, April 21, 2016.

That’s a big number, but what does it mean in benefit to the community? Heart of Kentucky United Way Executive Director Stephanie Blevins put that big number into terms we can all understand and relate to:

Let me share with you what the $30,022.97 that you all raised for Heart of Kentucky United Way really means:

  • Because of you, a family now has a roof – the child of that family is now more likely to break the cycle of poverty, graduate high school, and own a home of their own.
  • Because of you, a mentor was introduced into the life of a child – that child is now more likely to graduate high school, have higher self-esteem, engage in social activities, and maintain stronger relationships.
  • Because of you, 21 senior citizens are now able to be transported to [doctor’s] appointments, pick up their medicines, and get their groceries.
  • Because of you, an abused and neglected child has an advocate solely assigned to them who interviews people and situations in their life and speaks on their behalf to the judge making a recommendation based on what is in the best interest of the child.
  • Because of you, 15 adults were able to achieve enough education to obtain their GED allowing them to gain self-esteem, a sense of achievement, and employment which in turn enables them to become contributing members to our community.
  • Because of you, 5 victims of domestic violence were able to receive the assistance they needed to secure protective orders from their abusers, receive counseling, gain child support, and maintain their homes – resulting in a safe environment for the child who is now more likely to break the cycle of abuse.
  • Because of you, 3 addicts were assisted in being able to complete an eight-week drug rehabilitation program and are more likely to break the cycle of addiction.
  • Because of you, a child who was malnourished now receives three meals and two snacks a day.
  • Because of you, a neglected child now is thriving because intensive therapy.
  • Because of you, 5 of our neighbors GED test were paid for, 3 people were able to keep the lights on, a child learned how to swallow food for the first time, and 15 patients were provided their medication – changing lives today and the generations of tomorrow.

NOW MULTIPLY ALL OF THE ABOVE BY 2 AND ADD 84 HOT MEALS THAT WERE DELIVERED TO OUR SENIORS TO THE LIST ABOVE. THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE THAT ONE WEEKEND AND THE KENTUCKY STATE BBQ FESTIVAL, ART AUCTION, AND SMOKIN’ BIKE RIDE – THE $24,305.05 (I didn’t calculate in the .05 cents so I could have even added in one more thing!) MADE TO OUR COMMUNITIES! On behalf of all of those above that will never get the chance to say thank you in person, THANK YOU!

United Way funds 24 agencies and 40 community programs conducted by those 24 agencies:

  • EDUCATION
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass, mentoring program
  • Bluegrass Rape Crisis, Green Dot Violence Prevention
  • Boyle County 4-H Whole Child Education
  • Centro Latino education programs
  • Garrard County 4-H, youth programs
  • Kings Mountain Memorial Community Center, after-school reading and math program
  • Lincoln County 4-H, youth programs
  • Mercer County 4-H, youth programs
  • The Salvation Army, community center enrichment/after-school and summer programs
  • Wilderness Trace Child Development Center, early intervention and preschool
  • Wilderness Trace Family YMCA, after-school and summer programs and preschool program
  • INCOME
  • KY ADAPT, deaf adults/community integration
  • Blue Grass Community Action Program, self-sufficiency and achieve education
  • Family Services Association of Boyle County, self-sufficiency and financial stabilization
  • Habitat for Humanity, Mercer County program
  • Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, domestic violence, senior access to health care and veterans advocacy
  • Mercer County Adult Education and Learning Center, workforce development
  • The Salvation Army, social welfare services
  • HEALTH
  • Blue Grass Community Action Program, adult day care, senior services and senior companion program
  • CASA of the Bluegrass, child advocacy
  • Centro Latino, medical interpreting services
  • Greenhouse 17, domestic violence crisis and stabilization services
  • Heritage Hospice, transitions program
  • Kidney Health Alliance of Kentucky, patient services and public education/screening
  • Lincoln County Senior Citizens Center, senior services
  • Nursing Home Ombudsman of the Bluegrass, advocacy and protection services
  • Recovery Center, day treatment program
  • Wilderness Trace Family YMCA, aquatics program

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