Martha’s Vineyard struggling to find new donors

PADUCAH, KY – You never know what goes on behind closed doors. Right now, there are hundreds of people in our area who can’t leave their homes for medical reasons and rely on people to bring them food.

Through Martha’s Vineyard in Paducah, Martha Bell has been helping those people for 28 years.

Martha’s Vineyard and other nonprofits got thousands of dollars of food donations on Wednesday, but sometimes that isn’t enough to keep them going.

Bell is using her own money to keep the doors open. She said the shelves are stocked. It’s the other bills that are adding up.

Martha’s Vineyard is different than most soup kitchens “The people that we take care of are the people that will never get to the grocery. We (help) a lot of people on kidney dialysis,” Bell said.

Bell said they feed about 103 people every week, but it takes more than food to fuel the pantry.

It costs hundreds of dollars in bills — light, water, gas — and Bell said most of her donors are gone. “Well, all of these people that donated to me, about 22 of them are deceased,” Bell said.

At nearly 80 years old, she is pulling money out of her savings to feed other people.

Just down the road, the Community Kitchen is what most people think of when they hear “soup kitchen.”

“There are donors in our community that care about people (and) care about their lives. They don’t even know them. Some people they’ll never meet,” Community Kitchen volunteer Sally Michelson said. She said they feed about 300 people a week with help and money from the community.

Some of their donors give around $20,000. With 36,000 meals served here this year, this is hunger you can see.

Martha’s Vineyard targets the hunger that is happening behind closed doors. “I don’t know how long this will be —I guess until I go broke myself,” Bell said.

After 28 years, she can’t just stop feeding people who rely on her. She said she’s hoping to find new donors that can help keep the lights on and stomachs full.

You can help by donating directly to Martha’s Vineyard. You can also give money directly to the utility companies and tell them it is for Martha’s Vineyard bills. The organization uses Atmos Energy, Paducah Power, and Paducah Water.

You can find out more information about this story and others by following Leah Shields on Facebook and Twitter.

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