Hope2All began as a collective of churches in 2006 with an awareness march like the one being held today.
“Our motto is 'Hopelessness has a cure,'” said Brad Payne, director of food bank services at Hope2All. "When we were established, our main goal was to help with drug addictions. Methamphetamine was running rampant, and there were so many people with so many issues. We wanted to do something positive as the churches of the community, something substantial enough to actually help.”
According to Troy Oakley, director of Hope2All's recovery center, more than 15 local churches now contribute resources to the ongoing work of the organization, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit not associated with a single church.
“One of the first things that happens when you come into the program here, we tell everyone this is Christian-based, but it's not a church. I may have a Baptist girl sitting next to a Catholic guy, or people who never went to church and don't want to hear about church,” Oakley, who is also a pastor, said. “We don't use this as a platform for our own gain. We feel like we'll be blessed if we keep our hands off of that, and it works better. We're here to help them with drug addiction.”
Hope2All has expanded to address other issues in the community and operates a food bank and a clothes closet in Nortonville, though the root of their mission is still in addiction recovery and the struggles it creates for families.
“You get poor economics, you get joblessness, you get all of this that's happening right here, and you get drugs, you get addiction. You get people trying to escape reality that way,” Payne said.
Last year, the food bank distributed food to over 20,000 people, moving between 4,000 and 6,000 pounds of food in the four hours it was open each week.
“That blows people away, that we fed that many people. They say, 'I thought that was just a little food pantry,'” Payne said. "We've worked with the United States Department of Agriculture. We get our food from Feeding America. There's this national organization, and we're a part of it.”
The organization also enjoys the support of the justice system in their efforts.
“The court system in Hopkins County encourages people to come to our program. Probation and Parole sends people to our program. We're the accountable agency for what their treatment is. I don't think people realize that's what's happening right here in Nortonville. We minister in some way to thousands of people every year,” Payne said.
In the eight years of their mission so far, Hope2All has seen success.
“It's been worth the effort,” said Oakley. "Addiction's a hard thing to break, and it's a hard thing to deal with for an individual, especially one who has carried that for a long period of time. We've been here faithfully every week at the same time, and they've been able to transition into healthier lifestyles and get jobs. We're happy with the results we've had."
Payne considers meth the largest addiction issue in the county. It is cheap and easy to manufacture, he said, and most sellers are also users themselves. It has been a problem for a long enough period that its making has become knowledge passed down generationally.
"If we could do away with meth and the addiction to meth, we'd have conquered most of this mountain,” Payne said.
Today's march is more about reminding the community that Hope2All is there than it is to raise funds, according to Oakley. While their services are well known in the south end of the county, he believes many in Madisonville and the north areas of Hopkins County may be unaware of the resources they have available for fighting addiction and its impact on families.
"We're creating awareness. We haven't done one of these marches in several years,” Oakley said. “We rely 100 percent on either businesses or churches giving money. You can imagine. Light bills can run $1,000 a month. We try not to do too many events. Our faith and trust is in God, and if He wants us open, we'll stay open. That's been more than proven."
One aspect of the event that will raise funds is a silent auction, which will include autographed sports memorabilia such as an Indianapolis Colts football, portraits of University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, and a University of Louisville football helmet. Tanning packages, Dairy Queen ice cream cakes, and a Churchill Downs racing package will also be up for auction. All items were donated.
The march will begin at Nortonville City Hall at 9 a.m. and will progress down Main Street to the Nortonville soccer field. There will be food vendors and live performances by church groups in addition to the silent auction.
SurfKY News Reporter
SurfKY News Photo/Ami Clayton
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