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Sunday, November 27, 2011

People Like Danny Carothers, Denzel Carpenter And Troy Halcomb Of Bowling Green Make Up For The UNCHRISTIANLIKE Behavior Of Others On GUTTONIOUS Black Friday.

(Danny Carothers (center), of Bowling Green, talks Wednesday before he passes out food in the parking lot of Diemer's D & F Super Market on Adams St. Carothers, public relations director with the West Side Camp, gave turkeys and food to dozens of families. Denzel Carpenter (from right of Carothers) and Troy Halcomb, both of Bowling Green, helped hand out the food. -- Photo: Joe Imel)
Food giveaway lifts spirits of those who are nearly hopeless

When Gary Sartain wandered to a local grocery on a frigid day before Thanksgiving, he had nothing but the clothes on his back. After losing everything and living on the streets, the Bowling Green man was nearly hopeless when he got an unexpected lift Wednesday.

Sartain is one of several local residents who do not have much to be thankful for this holiday season. Like Sartain, many haven’t had a joyous holiday in years.

They’re homeless, jobless, sick, depressed and, in some cases, struggling to care for multiple children. Occasionally, their holiday is brightened when they come across people such as Danny Carothers.

On the day before Thanksgiving, Carothers handed out turkeys to complete strangers. He loaded his truck with packaged turkeys and sat in the parking lot of Diemer’s D&F Super Market on Adams Street - an area that’s home to many low-income, impoverished people.

It’s personal for Carothers, a lifelong Bowling Green resident who was raised in the neighborhood. He knows that many of these people are poor, sad and hungry during the holidays.

“I was raised in this community,” he said. “We call it the west side of Bowling Green, and we don’t want to see these people suffering.”

Minutes after Carothers pulled into the parking lot, dozens of people huddled around his truck, hoping for a Thanksgiving turkey.

There was Jennifer Sutton, a mother of four children who wasn’t sure whether she could give her kids a Thanksgiving meal this year.

“We didn’t have nothing,” said Sutton, of Bowling Green. “I’ve never seen nothing like it - he didn’t know me; he just stopped me” to give away a turkey.

There was Guyla O’Brien, a Bowling Green woman who is raising her three grandchildren and lives on disability income. Affording food can be difficult, especially during the holidays, she said.

“And my water was cut off on top of everything else,” she said.

The woman and her 13-year-old granddaughter hugged and cried as Carothers went into the store to purchase more food for their family.

“They’ll be real excited,” O’Brien said about her grandchildren. “They really like eating.”

There was Gladys Glass, a Bowling Green woman who didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving last year because she couldn’t afford it. She didn’t want to wait until Thanksgiving when she got a free turkey Wednesday - she planned to cook and eat it right away.

“I’m thankful for anything I can get. God’s working in mysterious ways,” she said. “I wouldn’t have had a turkey. Now, I’m going to get to cook.”

Then there was Sartain, a man who is unemployed and has been squatting at the apartment of a random person he met while roaming the streets.

He has medical problems and a dwindling supply of medication, and the holidays are the last thing on his mind. He walks with a limp and begins to weep when he talks about his stolen cane. He had a seizure and passed out on the street one day; when he woke up, his cane was gone.

“Times are real, real tough. It’s real hard on me,” he said. “I’m trying to live anywhere I can.”

Carothers gave away 22 turkeys and had run out when Sartain approached him. So, Carothers went into the market and purchased a turkey for Sartain.

In fact, he bought more turkeys and additional food for others who asked for help. He delivered some food to people’s homes and took one woman - a jobless single mother of five children - a turkey from his own freezer. He purchased food for strangers until his own funds nearly disappeared.

“I don’t have no more money now; that’s the real problem,” he said. “It’s hurtful because you see a lot of people in need. That’s the only thing I hate.”

Carothers has handed out food and turkeys for the past few years. It’s an outreach project for his nonprofit organization called West Side Camp, a mentor program for boys in the area. Carothers is the camp’s public relations director.

“There’s so many people without right now,” he said. “I just stop at one place, and all these people come.”

— To contribute to West Side Camp, send donations to P.O. Box 50022, Bowling Green, KY 42102.



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