It does not take long for the people within the community of Owensboro to respond to a need, and St. Benedict Homeless Shelter Executive Director Harry Pedigo can attest to that.
On Tuesday morning, Pedigo put out a plea on social media asking for Thursday evening help after the shelter’s previous Thursday night food team stepped down.
“Good morning family. Today is bittersweet, as we have lost a great food team,” the Facebook post read. “They have been dedicated for years and have finally decided they didn’t have the manpower or participation to continue. This food team served every first Thursday of the month. So we are desperately in need of a small group, church, youth group, individual, family or organization that would be willing to take their place.”
Pedigo was taken by surprise when, within an hour, he not only was able to fill the need, but multiple news and media outlets were contacting him about his request.
“We have such a great community response,” Pedigo said. “If it wasn’t for the news media and social media, I don’t know what I would do to get the word out about meals – it’s imperative. Without it, we could only do it for so long before it would take a toll on us and what we do.”
Pedigo said food teams are responsible for preparing or catering for 60 men, and the posted need was for a team to serve every first Thursday of the month beginning in July. Participating teams are asked to have the food at the shelter no later than 7:30 p.m. in order to serve by 8 p.m.
“People want to serve, they just don’t know how. Because we put it out there, they want to serve” Pedigo said. “We rely on that aspect of the community. It’s how this organization was founded — on the community and on their servantship. We build relationships, but it always turns out to be more than just a relationship — we build lifetime supporters and lifetime contributors.”
“I’m truly grateful,” Pedigo said. “We try to be more than just a homeless shelter. We try to be a representation of the men we serve. We try to be an example in the community of what they want to be — and that gives them hope.”
For those wanting to participate in feeding the men at the St. Benedict’s, please contact the shelter through their Facebook page.