Nonprofits gear up for holiday season

Austin Ramsey
News Editor

Murray is stocking up for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Local businesses most of Wednesday getting the day’s first back-up, discount stock to be on shelves Thursday morning.

Walmart and Kroger were packed full of people buying frozen turkeys and other traditionally Thanksgiving commodities.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has issued several releases over the past few days warning motorists of increased traffic in both urban and rural areas, in anticipation of the onslaught of travelers after this weekend.

But there are some who look at the upcoming holiday with far less exuberance. To an increasing number of people, the expensive grocery items and distant travel are no longer possibilities.

Tonia Casey, executive director of Need Line social services organization in Murray, said she has seen an increased number of the needy, especially during the holiday season.

“The price of groceries have gone up,” she said. “The price of gas has gone up. The price of everything has gone up.”

She said the recession long touted to have never affected the Murray region has finally done so.

She said she expects 257 senior citizens alone to come to the Murray Need Line for monetary and food assistance. More than 900 individuals frequent the Need Line headquarters on a monthly basis. She said 350 children are expected this week.

Numbers like these are far above those of the past. With the increased cost of living, she said, more individuals are unable to pay bills and buy food.

“We have a lot of families who used to donate money and food are coming in to get money and food now,” she said.

Casey said Need Line has been focusing specific interest this year on including Thanksgiving-centered foods in the give-away bags.

But the social working organization is also taking part in this year’s Community Dinner, a seven-year-old program sponsored by St. John’s Episcopal Church of Murray that offers locals the availability of a warm meal and others with whom to enjoy it.

Rose Allbritten, the church’s vicor, who organizes the dinner every year, said she expects a large turnout at this year’s, which will be held at the Murray Banquet Center on Thanksgiving Day.

“The whole idea behind this is that there are people who don’t have anywhere to go and don’t have any food at home,” she said. “ This dinner is of no cost to the participants.”

She said this year’s dinner cost the church about $700 because the local Salvation Army donated all of the turkeys that will be eaten that day. All the desserts and commodities are donated or purchased.

Eric Kelleher, an employee at the Senior Citizen Center, said the elderly are preparing to face the fast-approaching holiday with each other.

“About 60 to 70 percent of the seniors have applied for meals during the two days we will be closed,” he said.

Kelleher said a majority of the senior citizens will also attend the Community Dinner, accounting for most of the event’s participants.

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