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Helping Hand of Hope is one of five organizations across the country to be honored for the work they do in their communities.
The organization received a $5,000 check from AT&T on Tuesday in front of volunteers and public officials at Towne Mall.
The donation came after Martina Kilgo of Vine Grove wrote a short essay on the Web page www.causes.com/att about the organization and its importance to community members.
AT&T set up an essay contest to recognize five charities with donations.
Kilgo was a volunteer for North Hardin HOPE, which merged with Helping Hand of the Heartland to become Helping Hand of Hope, until she started her own business and was no longer able to do so.
That volunteer effort showed Kilgo how much need exists and how the organization helps meet needs such as acquiring food, clothing and utility assistance.
“It impressed me so much how they help people,” she said. “I think that they stand for the name, that they give people hope.”
Kilgo is a frequent user of the website www.causes.com, which is where she learned this past summer about AT&T’s essay competition. The competition encouraged visitors to tell about local charities for a chance to win $5,000 to support those organizations.
She likes writing essays, so she penned 165 words about the services provided by Helping Hand of Hope and the compassion of volunteers there.
Kilgo didn’t expect an organization helping a fairly small area to win, so she forgot about the entry until she received a call that November from a representative telling her that her essay was among the winners.
“I was thrilled,” she said. “I really was.”
Executive Director David Dozer said the money is a wonderful gift and will be spent completely on client services, especially providing food.
“It will make a dramatic difference,” he said.
The amount is small compared to the organization’s $500,000 annual budget, but it could make the difference between a family in need getting $150 of assistance and $250, Dozer said.
“You ask them if that makes a difference,” he said. “You bet it does.”
Volunteer Kitty Hamm helped Elizabethtown resident Deanna Vespie check out a few items she was buying Tuesday at the organization’s office on East Dixie Avenue in Elizabethtown.
Vespie said the store gives her a place to walk when she needs to get out of the house and allows her to stretch her money between checks.
Hamm likes volunteering because of the good Helping Hand of Hope does and the chance it gives her to meet people.
“I love people,” she said. “I know a lot of help is needed.”
Hank Mangeot, regional manager for external and legislative affairs for AT&T, presented the check during the short ceremony Tuesday.
He said the company he works for is so large that it’s important for it to have a big, positive impact.
It also is great to feature organizations that are small and not usually in the spotlight to show the difference they are making, Mangeot said.
“We’re thrilled to do it,” he said.
State Sen. Dennis Parrett said the gift was wonderful and will help the organization continue its mission to help residents help themselves when they face financial challenges.
“I think that says a lot about Helping Hand of Hope,” he said. “It says a lot about the values in this area and this community.”
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is Vine Grove resident Martina Kilgo’s essay about Helping Hand of Hope that secured the organization a $5,000 donation from AT&T:
I am part of the Connect for Good Community because I strongly believe that the fortunate shouldn’t forget the not so fortunate members of our communities and support them as good as we can.
The organization I would nominate as deserving your support is Helping Hand of Hope in Hardin County Kentucky.
I have been a volunteer at this organization and was able to see what positive impact it has on the poorest in our community.
They provide food and clothes and help with overdue rent and utility bills. Depending on available donations they also provide people with furniture.
Their employees and volunteers are very compassionate about what they are doing; and there is nothing greater than seeing the relieve in the receiver’s eyes knowing that they and their families will make it through another period without hunger, or the fear of getting evicted.
This organization, who mainly works with volunteers, contributes immensely to making the lives of the poorest here better. They give hope!