The Gift of Giving

An eye-opening visit to a local homeless shelter and soup kitchen.


Olivia Smith

Collection of photos from the overall experience.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year according to artist Andy Williams. The season of giving has jingled its way back around once again. Giving to people in need is a way to lift everyone’s spirit, and it’s so easy to do. We (Michaela Agee and Olivia Smith) created a service project to allow us and other people to give to others and feel the joy that

Felicia Smith
Olivia Smith and Michaela Agee outside ACCESS Soup Kitchen after turning in donations.

comes along with it. 

Getting Started

We emailed ACCESS Soup Kitchen and Men’s Shelter, in Frankfort, Kentucky. This is a non-profit organization that works to provide shelter, care, and food for people in need. On their website, there are different sections on the current needs at the shelter, the different events that are coming up, as well as where to get resources and donate them. This shelter allows volunteers to come in weekly to donate food or other needed items. Through email, we set a date to bring a small group to the shelter to donate winter clothing items. We reached out to both of our youth groups, friends, and family to gather as many items as possible. Not only did we gather items such as hats, gloves, jackets, blankets, socks, scarves, and toiletries, but also homemade Christmas cards. 

Donation Times

Michaela Agee
Collection of total donations before taking them into the shelter.

By December 14th, we had collected two trash bags full of jackets, one trash bag of shirts, three grocery bags of gloves, hats, scarves, and socks combined, three sleeping bags, twenty homemade hygiene gift bags, as well as multiple blankets. About 3’clock in the afternoon, we arrived at the shelter and were greeted by a group of 5-6 men who were staying in the shelter. They kindly helped us unload the donations, and gratefully thanked us, as well as wished us a Merry Christmas.


Sitting Down with One of the Donors–Dawn Brown

Donor Dawn Brown

How easy was it to find items around your house to donate?

I was actually surprised at how many old gloves I found that I no longer use.

Why were you willing to participate in donating?

Not everyone is dealt with the same set of cards, and I acknowledge that I may be more fortunate than others. So why hold on to things I don’t need when someone else could get much more use out of it?

After contributing to the donations, as well as attending the shelter with us, how do you feel about the overall experience?

I really enjoyed being personally thanked by the men in the shelter, and I’m so proud of you girls for putting together this project.

I feel that everyone should give at this time of year, but it seems that nobody does anymore.”

— Anonymous person staying at ACCESS Soup Kitchen

How You Can Help

Visit websites of local soup kitchens and shelters to learn what you can do to help disadvantaged people near you. On these websites you can usually find the shelter’s current needs, events, news, and resources to get involved. It doesn’t matter how small you may think your contribution is, one will always be greater than zero.



Some shelters near Woodford:

New Life Day Center

Bluegrass Community Action, 

Lexington Rescue Mission.