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HILLVIEW--It’s been about four years since former Bullitt County resident Bethany Kennedy had her house burn down right after her family moved to Bardstown. But she’ll always remember it because of the good will that was born from it. She was pregnant and had three children.
“The insurance wasn’t final on the new house yet and my husband was laid off at the time,” she said. “We lost 90 percent of our belongings in the fire. People began to donate all kinds of items to us, so much that we redistributed the excess throughout the community.”
And Klothe-A-Kid was born.
Kennedy officially started the organization in January 2011 to help those in need. They distribute free clothes, blankets, sheets, food, toiletries and other household items.
She regularly meets with families and individuals in need, but the group goes out into the community once a month to do distributions.
The group frequently visits the Bullitt County area. In October they visited a trailer park in Brooks and recently they set up at Seven Counties in Shepherdsville.
But they also travel all over Kentucky.
“I think it’s just human…if we can just love and encourage our neighbors it makes a huge difference in our society,” she said.
Kennedy said she does research on what are the poorest counties in the state and prays about it.
“We seek out people who are struggling and don’t have support systems,” she said.
When she started out, she was just taking all of the donations and storing them in her basement, but it got to be too much. She then got a couple of sheds for storage in Mount Washington, but then it grew again.
In May they acquired a warehouse to store the items in New Haven.
But even though they moved their storage away from the county, Kennedy said they still spend a lot of time in Bullitt County.
“Since we started here most of the connections we have come from here and lots of volunteers do too,” she said.
Fern Creek resident Kristi Ballard has been volunteering with the organization since last February.
She said Kennedy’s father is an elder at her church, NB Christian Church, and spoke about her efforts one day.
“I just fell in love with what they did,” Ballard said.
She said she enjoys getting to know the people she encounters in the different communities. They distribute to about 200 to 300 people at a time, Ballard said.
“The clothes are really just a way to get to know the people and what their needs are,” she said. “We’re there to fix the problem…and not just put a band-aid on it.”
In fact, she said a lot of people they help end up volunteering for Klothe-A-Kid later.
They usually have about 15 regular people who volunteer every month.
But they’re “more than free clothes,” this summer they hosted their first vacation bible school for a community on Minors Lane.
“We’re more about relationship-building,” she said. “We go and knock on doors to let people know we’re there and within 10 minutes everyone knows. It means that much to them.”
The group has a donation drop at North Bullitt Christian Church.
“We are always in need hats, coats, gloves, socks and underwear,” she said.
Kennedy suggested those who want to donate do so around February as they are filled up now.
Eventually she would like to also have temporary housing available next to the warehouse from those families which are struggling and possible some onsite animal theraphy.
The organization operates on donations.