While most of us are celebrating the holidays with family and friends, some are finding the holiday spirit by helping out those in need. Christ’s Hands, a soup kitchen and homeless shelter located in Harlan, will be providing food and shelter to those that need it during Christmas, just like they do seven days a week.
In addition to the shelter, the organization also delivers food around town to people that are homeless or bedridden.
“We deliver about 30 dinners around town,” said Christ’s Hands volunteer Mike Ball.
Ball said he works at least one day a week as a server in the soup kitchen.
“The cooks prepare the meals and they leave usually around 2 p.m. or 2:30 p.m.,” said Ball. “We come in at 3 p.m. and get everything ready.”
Ball said some volunteers work every day at the kitchen.
“There’s food done every day,” said Ball. “Individual volunteers can come one day — or whatever they can handle — per week. I’m disabled, but I try to manage one day a week. We do the best we can with what we’ve got to do with.”
Ball said Christ’s Hands expects to feed over 100 people this Christmas.
“Most times around Christmas — I’ve been here two years now — it’s averaged about 120,” said Ball. “It varies. But on a weekly basis we serve around 80 people a day.”
Ball said some faces are familiar, but they see new ones all the time.
“You see a lot come and go,” said Ball. “And as they can they pick up odd jobs and such, and you have returns. But they do try to help themselves. That’s one reason I try to be here to help them.”
According to Ball, as the areas coal mines have shut down, more people are finding themselves in need of a little help.
“It makes your heart go out to people,” said Ball. “We have families come through…we’ve had a lot (of people) have to move away. We’ve had some lose their homes.”
Ball said the shelter was shut down through the summer months for refurbishing.
“We’ve probably got about 18 people living here now,” said Ball. “That will probably increase as time goes on and more people lose their home.”
Ball said those staying at the shelter are required to be out by 8 a.m. and are allowed back in at meal time. The shelter is reopened in the evening.
Ball said he has seen up to 50 people living at the shelter.
“We’re looking for more volunteers to help us,” said Ball. “They can come and talk to anyone here at the shelter.”
Those wishing to inquire about volunteering can also call 606-573-9746 after 6 p.m.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, firstname.lastname@example.org