Holiday Helping


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 11, 2009) – Every day, many UK students, faculty and staff members give back to the Lexington community through a variety of volunteer opportunities. As the holidays approach, we all begin to reflect on what we have been given and how to help our fellow man. Throughout this season of giving, members of the UK family are participating in helping families in need make the holiday season a bit brighter.

UK's Center for Community Outreach (CCO) is the hub for philanthropic activity on campus. Located in the Center for Student Involvement and founded in August 2002, the CCO is a student-driven program that fosters the development of leaders who make a difference in their communities. Through a team of student volunteers and student staff, special services and programs are offered that afford the UK community opportunities to use their talents and energy while helping others.

One part of the CCO is Helping Hands, a group dedicated to fight poverty and improve the quality of life in our community by giving students hands-on experiences volunteering with shelters, relief agencies and recovery programs.

For the Thanksgiving holiday, Helping Hands held a toilet paper and food basket drive. This year, 38 Thanksgiving baskets filled with all the trimmings were donated to the AMEN House and distributed to families in Fayette and Scott counties. 3,090 rolls of toilet paper were collected and donated to God's Net to help the homeless in Lexington.

"It is rewarding to be part of a project to collect tangible items that are necessary and important to quality living," Ashley Williamson, director of Helping Hands, commented. "It is a reflection of our commitment to enhance the lives of Lexington citizens in every way possible."

As students begin to wind down the semester, Helping Hands still has several service opportunities that students, faculty and staff can participate in through the winter break.


Hope in a Bag  

This is a great project for groups. Through today, Dec. 11, simply fill bags with personal needs items (travel-sized shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, tooth brushes, razors, etc/) and drop them off in the CSI, 106 Student Center. Helping Hands volunteers will distribute all the items to Lexington homeless shelters.

Twelve Days of Christmas at the Hope Center

From Dec. 26 through Jan. 6, provide a meal or donate money to cover a meal for the clients at the emergency shelter. This makes the holidays special and relieves some burden from the food costs. Call (859) 252-7881 or e-mail for more information.

14th Annual Faith and Community Christmas Store at the Vineyard Community Church

Set up volunteers are needed Dec. 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (any shifts). Store volunteers are needed to help with shoppers, inventory and food on Dec. 21, 22 and 23; the volunteer shifts are from 8 to 11 a.m., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. Call (859) 514-7210 or e-mail for more information.

Toys Needed

Lexington's Catholic Action Center is in need of toys to help the more than 18,000 children in Lexington who live in poverty and wish to have toys this holiday season. Toys can be dropped off at locations found on their Web site,, through Dec. 18. Call (859) 514-7210 or e-mail for more information. 


The Community Action Council is seeking volunteers for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program or VITA. VITA is a program designed to help low-income participants file their tax returns. For many low-income households, tax accounting services are not affordable. Call Stephanie Davis at (859) 233-4600 for more information.

Food Needed: Lexington Rescue Mission

The Lexington Rescue Mission collects food for Lexington's hungry and homeless. The mission serves more than 20,000 free, hot meals to those in need every year, and they need help keeping the pantry stocked. Donations should be dropped off at 444 Glen Arvin Ave., Lexington, KY 40508.

For more information about the Center for Community Outreach and its programs, visit their new Web site at