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A helping hand

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Marion Countians rally together to deliver meals to seniors

By Gerard Flanagan

The Marion County community is known for taking care of each other in times of need.

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Right now is one of those times.

Among those deemed at-risk for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are seniors, who are staying home to keep themselves from catching the deadly virus.

The need to say home and social distance, however, presents a problem for seniors: How will they get food?

Enter the Marion County community. Across the county, a score of local community members have stepped up to the plate to help their neighbors out in their hour of need.

On March 19, just after senior citizen centers statewide were closed, the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center was only serving eight meals, according to Hal B. Goode, executive director of Central Kentucky Community Action. On April 16, thanks to many dedicated volunteers who deliver meals throughout the county, the center served 123 meals.

“That’s pretty amazing. Word is getting out,” said Goode.

The meals are open to seniors age 60 and older. Seniors needing meals can call the Lebanon Senior Center at 270-692-6591. They’re asked to make a 24-hour reservation for meals.

Goode said the outpouring of volunteers has been a humbling thing to witness.

“It’s a time when we’re working together,” Goode said. “We’re a great team.”

Goode gave a huge word of thanks to Frankie Powell, the head of the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center, who handles all requests for meals.

“We sure appreciate what she is doing,” he said.

Phyllis Troutman, the mayor of Raywick, volunteers with her daughter and granddaughter to deliver meals to seniors in the Raywick area.

“It touches your heart, to see how grateful they are,” she said.

Troutman said she delivers meals to seniors because it’s what needs to be done in a time of need.

“It’s what you do,” Troutman said. “We’re in a crisis, so you do what you can do and do it because you want to. As long as I’m able to, I’ll do what needs to be done. You take care of everybody.”

Diane Mattingly, the founder and president of Beautify Loretto, is delivering meals to seniors in the Loretto, St. Francis, Holy Cross and St. Mary’s area along with approximately 20 volunteers.

“So many out there are struggling,” Mattingly said.

Mattingly said the volunteers adhere to social distancing guidelines when delivering meals.

“We’re placing food on a porch and calling the person to let them know food has been delivered,” she said.

Mattingly said the seniors are very appreciative of the meals.

“We don’t know the situation for these seniors,” she said. “We’re here to help if needed. Anything else we can do, we’re here to do that.”

Mattingly said delivering meals to seniors is a very rewarding feeling for the volunteers, and it shows the willingness Marion Countians have to come together and help during times of uncertainty.

“It’s just as rewarding to the volunteers as it is to the seniors,” Mattingly said. “Our community members pull together in the worst of times to help each other out.”

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