At St. James Catholic Regional School, volunteers lined up on Thanksgiving to get signed in and begin filling up foam containers of food for the community.

This Thanksgiving meal distribution event has continued for now 36 years, with about 100 volunteers ensuring its a day of plenty for all.

Janie Stith, who was there with her family including her mother Patti Stith, one of the organizers, said the committee for the meal distribution occurs in October, with planning and preparation all the way up until Thanksgiving day.

Meals include turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, a roll, pumpkin pie and milk.

It’s a collaboration between Helping Hand of Hope and several area churches including St. James Catholic Church, First Christian, Memorial United Methodist, First Presbyterian, Christ Episcopal, House of Prayer Lutheran, St. Christopher Parish and St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

It’s also supported by Adaptive Sportsmen of Kentucky, Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, the Hardin County Schools Early College and Career Center and Bluegrass Meats & Catering.

“It physically couldn’t happen without all the volunteers that come,” Janie said.

Gillian Stith, Janie’s sister, said she has been volunteering with her family for this since she was 3 or 4 years old.

“I don’t know what Thanksgiving is like without doing it,” she said.

There is no indoor dining for the community because of the COVID-19 pandemic like last year. However, meals are being delivered. Stith said meal delivery began at around 9 a.m. and will continue until all are served.

Community members sign up ahead of time to pick up meals, but Janie said they still provide meals to people who walk in.

Janie said they expect to give out more than 800 meals. Last year, volunteers gave out about 900 meals.

“It just feels good … knowing that we’re helping people in the community and providing food for people that don’t have it,” Janie said.

Andrew Harp can be reached at 270-505-1414 or

Andrew Harp can be reached at 270-505-1414 or

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