Brighton Center needs your help with emergency food & supplies

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

NEWPORT, KY (FOX19) - These are dire straits for Northern Kentucky families. Right now, there are an estimated 3,500 homeless teens on the streets in Boone and Kenton counties.

"It is not uncommon for us to have a family show-up with the dad and saying, 'I've been living in a car with my two young children, can you help me out, what can you do?'" said Bear Clifton with the Brighton House in Newport, KY.

And emergency food supplies at the local family shelter are almost gone. Brighton House is finding itself in a bit of a crisis, with its food bank nearly empty.

They are feeling the crush of new clients, who've reached the end of their financial line. The numbers of people coming to the Brighton House Family Center looking for emergency help are up 111 percent.

And 70 percent of those people asking for basics, like food and clothing, are doing so for the very first time.

It has taken two years since the economy started really sliding in 2008 for people to go through their 401k's, retirement savings or any money they had squirreled away.

"Each and every morning here at Brighton Center's Family Center beginning at 8:30, we literally have a line of hundreds of people standing at that door," said Clifton, pointing to the front door, then down the sidewalk.

People waiting in line, who until now, have always been able to provide food for their families.

"Literally from the front door stretching down the street there," Clifton gestured. "We have people lined-up just wanting help with the basic things."

Basics, like clothing, housing referrals and food.

"Last year we served over 84,000 people," Clifton said. And that's up 111 percent.

"And the scary thing is," he said. "70-percent of these families are new, meaning they've always been stable, never had to ask for help before in their lives."

And in the 44 years they've been helping folks in Newport, they have never turned anybody away.

"And people, definitely every day, they're just chasing hope," Clifton said.

They rely mostly on people volunteering and stepping-up.

"And as we're dealing with that," said Melissa Hall Sommer, also with Brighton House. "We're using words like we've never used before like we're scared, we're scared that we're not going to have enough food for the folks that are coming in, who are already dealing with unemployment, who are already dealing with do I pay my electric bill or do my kids eat."

Inside their food pantry, the shelves look full, but they say that will be gone in less than a week.

"We are seeing about one-thousand families per month," Clifton said. "Which is an increase of about 500 per month if you look at this time last year."

"A bag of food, a can of food, something small," Sommer said. "When you go to the grocery store, throw something extra in your cart and then just bring it here, yes, and it adds up!"

So, in the morning, when folks are once-again lining-up outside, without any new supplies coming-in, families in need of emergency goods could possibly be turned-away for the very first time.

Financial donations can be sent to:

Brighton Center

PO Box 325

Newport, KY 41072

Here are some items they are in need of:

Cereal, pancake mix & syrup, canned meats (tuna, chicken, vienna sausages), spaghetti & pasta sauce, canned fruits/veggies, soups & crackers, peanut butter, shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors & shaving cream, laundry detergent, baby diapers (sizes 3,4,5), wipes, toilet paper & cleaning supplies, hand soap, sanitizer & Lysol spray or wipes.

Items can be dropped off at:

799 Ann Street

Newport, KY 41071

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