By Karen Zautyk
Once again, The Observer is counting on the generosity of its readers to help some fellow Americans who are mired in poverty.
Down in the mountains of Appalachian Kentucky, families lead a hand-to-mouth existence – when there is food to go in their mouths. Often, there is not. The people, children included, go to bed hungry.
We’d say the parents also go to work hungry, except there’s not much work to go to in that region of defunct mines. And what work there is usually doesn’t pay much.
According to census figures for Knott County, the heart of the region, the median household income was $20,373, and the per capita income was $11,297. More than a quarter of the families reportedly live below the poverty line.
What can you do about this?
A great deal.
Yesterday, The Observer launched its 5th annual Kentucky Care Project, through which readers can donate food (non-perishable), clothing, household items and personal items, furniture, toys, among many other things. All of this is needed.
Now parked in the lot behind out building at 531 Kearny Ave. is the huge 18-wheeler trailer that we hope will eventually be filled with your donations.
Last year, so many readers gave so much that two additional trailers were needed to take everything down to Kentucky!
Although this newspaper has been involved for five years, Kentucky Care was actually launched more than 20 years ago by businessman Gino Montrone, who wanted to give something back to America in gratitude for his own success. Montrone still oversees the project and provides the trucks.
On page 37 of this week’s paper, you’ll find an ad listing the kinds of items that are needed and requested, along with other Kentucky Care information.
Volunteers will be on site at The Observer parking lot to accept your items Tuesdays and Thursdays (Sept. 13, 18, 20, 25 and 27) from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Just pull your vehicle into the lot, and we’ll help you unload it.
PLEASE NOTE: The collection will take place ONLY on the dates and between the hours noted above. Please do not leave items at or under the trailer at any other time. They could be damaged or stolen. Unfortunately, we speak from experience.
Your correspondent, also speaking from experience, has been astonished by readers’ response in previous years. There were days when there was nearly a traffic jam, with so many people arriving with donations. We thank you in advance for your help in 2012 to once more make Kentucky Care a success.