LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – In its annual Back-to-School Backpacks Giveaway, Blue Grass Farms Charities (BGFC) provided backpacks filled with school supplies to 346 children of thoroughbred industry workers in Central Kentucky aged K-5th grade.
In 2015, BGFC provided 190 backpacks. “This year, not only were we able to impact more children and families, but the backpacks contained more items needed for the new school year”, says Wade Haga, BGFC Outreach Director.
To make the program as accessible as possible, BGFC asked farm administrative staff to submit the number of backpacks requested by employees at their farm. BGFC then used volunteers to stuff the backpacks and deliver them right to the farm for the parents to pick up and take home. In all, 21 volunteers were used to prepare and deliver backpacks to 26 thoroughbred farms and operations.
Thirty backpacks were requested at Mill Ridge Farm. “This is our second year participating in the Back-To-School backpack program. When these children arrive to pick up their school supplies, it is like you have given them one of the best presents ever; the smiles and laughter say it all! Many children would be without the necessities to begin their school year, but with the hard work and countless hours put in by Blue Grass Farm Charities team, they are given all they need. The kids are so very appreciative, and so are we!”, says Kim Poulin, Assistant Sales Manager at Mill Ridge Farm.
Eighty-five children of backstretch workers at Keeneland were also able to benefit from this program. “I believe that this backpack program helps the backstretch understand our concern for them in all areas of their life. Our Ministry is not just limited to a few areas, but rather many areas, including the betterment of their children’s education. A backpack of school supplies generously handed out is a great way to express the thoroughbred industry’s concern for the backstretch families and all that they do to make this industry great”, says Dean Carpenter, Keeneland’s Chaplain.
For over 12 years, BGFC has been providing health and human services for thoroughbred industry workers and their families in Central Kentucky. It is supported by individuals, businesses and private foundations. Racino, BGFC’s annual fundraising gala, will be held at Keeneland on Saturday, October 1st.
“I’ve gotten so much great feedback. Next year, our goal is to provide backpacks for 450 children. I think we can do it!” says Haga.
For more information on Racino and BGFC’s programs, visit www.bgfcky.org.