The Ashland Beacon
The winter months are hard on everyone, but people who go without warm clothes are especially at risk. Those without coats, gloves, socks, umbrellas, and other warm weather items are exposed to the harsh weather and are at greater risk of illness and injury.
Two local organizations, Ashland For Change and Ashland Pride, have organized a “Share the Warmth” drive to serve those in need of such items. The organizations have distributed bins to local businesses such as Second Hand Rose, Treasure Hunt, Sideburns Stadium Haircuts, BloodMoon Goddesses and Apothecary, and other small businesses.
The drive is also in collaboration with EKY Mutual Aid, a nonprofit dedicated to providing relief to vulnerable populations in eastern Kentucky. Since the pandemic, EKY Mutual Aid has provided food and rent relief to thousands of eastern Kentuckians during the pandemic.
“The idea was born out of Ashland Pride looking for ways to support our friends at EKY Mutual Aid with their efforts,” Pride representative Holly Blevins said. “It grew from there, with Ashland For Change taking the lead and also supporting the efforts of Christ Temple Church.”
Chantelle Crockrel, First Lady of Christ Temple and a founding member of AFC, kick-started the idea by creating a food pantry at the church. The pantry featured nonperishable food items for those who are food insecure. The church also collected Christmas items to gift to children in need, in honor of Sis Brown, a former member of the church.
The drive items are primarily focused on items that are not immediately thought of when it comes to winter items. Socks, gloves, umbrellas, hats, and scarves are on top of the list of items needed.
“We (Ashland for Change) really want to be a catalyst for change and growth in our community,” Ashland For Change president Marie Troxler said. “Sometimes we take the little things for granted, but it should be treated as a blessing and necessity that every person should have. Every person is special and should be granted kindness and have their basic needs met.”
Both Ashland for Change and Ashland Pride are organizations that were founded due to recent social justice movements across the country. Ashland For Change was created last summer as a response to the murder of George Floyd and the protests following his death.
AFC hosted a “March for Change” in June of last year, with more than 100 attendees. Their social media has over 2,000 likes, with broad support from the community. The march included speakers from Ashland and across the state, and served as an educational opportunity for others to learn about racism and its affect on minority populations.
Ashland Pride was created in 2019 to allow members of the LGBTQIA+ community to connect, but also to provide a safe space for the community and its allies to discuss how the city of Ashland can best support inclusivity and diversity.
If you would like to donate new or gently used items to the drive, bins are located in a variety of small businesses including Second Hand Rose, Treasure Hunt, Sideburns Stadium Haircuts, BloodMoon Goddesses Apothecary and Spiritual Services, and more. Please check the Ashland For Change Facebook page for a full list of businesses.