A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Amazon employees donate 500 backpacks full of necessities to Emergency Shelter of Northern KY

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The Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky (ESNKY) received a generous donation today of 500 backpacks full of toiletries, hats, gloves, and other basic necessities from employees of the Amazon fulfillment center in Hebron, Ky.
 
Amazon has a long history of giving back to the local communities where their associates live and work. This season, associates at the Amazon Hebron fulfillment center wanted to help improve the lives of community members working to transition out of homelessness.
 
As part of that mission, the company worked to identify two deserving organizations that strive to aid in the transition from homelessness to a more stable and sustainable living situation: ESNKY, which operates a cold-weather homeless shelter in Covington, and Bethany House, a nonprofit organization that shelters and supports women and children. Each nonprofit received 500 backpacks filled with essential needs items.
 
 

Kim Webb, the executive director of ESNKY, said the donation from Amazon’s employees couldn’t have come at a better time as the organization has just started its winter program – one of its busiest times of the year. This year, due to dropping temperatures, ESNKY opened the doors of its emergency shelter two days earlier than planned and it has remained open ever since.
 
“Backpacks are very important and are often in high demand in shelters for adults who live outside,” Webb said. “Some individuals come to our door with nothing except what they are wearing and others come with flimsy plastic bags filled with all of their belongings.”
 
“Being able to hand out a backpack to a shelter guest to carry his or her belongings in provides dignity during an already difficult situation. In addition, the backpacks have toiletries and other cold-weather items that will help our guests once they exit our shelter.”
 
Last year, ESNKY provided more than 11,000 nights of shelter to more than 650 individuals who were homeless. Each guest is only permitted one bag of personal belongings upon entry to the shelter because of space limitations. Amazon’s donation allows ESNKY to continue its mission of being a life-saving and life-changing organization.
 
“This is the beginning of a long-term collaboration between ESNKY and Amazon’s associates and we look forward to working with them in the future,” Webb said. “We also hope to continue to work with the company to find employment opportunities at Amazon for our guests. Together, we can continue to make a big difference in the lives of people in transition.” 

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