Bowling Green woman helps neighbors, victims of tornado, with Porch Pantry

Published: Jan. 9, 2022 at 10:33 PM EST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Countless volunteers are still helping tornado victims daily, almost after a month since it hit Western Kentucky.

One woman has coordinated many volunteer opportunities.

Located just around the corner from the Food Trucks giving out free lunches, in an area hit hard by the tornado, is a porch pantry for victims to stop by and take whatever they need.

“The reason we do this is because a lot of the families over here and in the other neighborhoods, they don’t want to go into any kind of government buildings,” said Kaitlyn Wilkins, food truck and porch pantry organizer. “They don’t ask for help. So this way, they don’t have to have any questions asked, they can just come and grab whatever they need.”

Wilkins started organizing the food truck cookouts in the Creekwood area, after hosting a cookout in her backyard the day after the storm.

“I just felt like we needed to kind of help our neighbors out because everybody lost power, and we knew our food was gonna go bad,” explained Wilkins. “So we just decided to use the food out of the freezer and all that kind of stuff. But we basically did a cookout that very next day in the backyard. And then it kind of blew up, we ended up feeding 500 people that day.”

Luckily, Whit Dogs took over making the cookout lunches, and Wilkins says she now has 7 different food trucks helping out. She is an admin to the ‘Kentucky Tornado Help’ group on Facebook. Wilkins still organizes the food truck lunches and make sure they have enough drivers, but on top of all that, she has a pantry in front of her home.

“We realized a lot of people weren’t getting pantry items, even if they were getting hot food. So we started doing the porch and just kind of putting whatever anybody wanted to bring over here outside, and then people can come by at any point in time, just to grab whatever they need,” said Wilkins.

Wilkins keeps the pantry going through donations, but has noticed there’s some pirating occurring.

“There were a lot of people that were coming and taking stuff that they didn’t really need just to return it back to the store. And so we had spoken to Walmart and Kroger, both, and called over there to see if there was a way to prevent it. And they told us to mark through the barcode vertically so that they won’t scan,” said Wilkins.

She says bringing donations to the pantry helps her out the most, along with becoming a driver for the food truck lunches. Wilkins asks to mark out barcodes on donations to prevent pirating.

You can join the Kentucky Tornado Help Group on Facebook by clicking here. If you want to donate pantry items, or are in need, you can stop by Kaitlyn’s porch at 2614 Oriole Street.

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