A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Covington Business Council holiday party lets members have fun, contribute to a worthy cause

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By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

The annual Covington Business Council (CBC) Holiday Party at the Madison Event Center provided an opportunity to celebrate the season and give a boost to one of the region’s nonprofits at a time when it really needs assistance.

Covington Business Council members enjoy the annual holiday party. Executive Director Pat Frew is second from left. Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky Executive Director Kim Webb, far right, said the donations from this year’s party will make a difference in the lives of those helped by the shelter (photos by Mark Hansel).

The CBC was created to promote and build a positive business environment in Covington with the goal of maximizing the potential for economic growth in the city.

Pat Frew, executive director of the CBC, said the organization decided to change the format of its holiday party a few years ago and move it to late afternoon.

“In the past, traditionally, we’ve had a luncheon in December, but we decided to make this a celebration,” Frew said. “We had done some smaller level holiday things that didn’t really seem that impactful, so we wanted something where we brought together more of our members.”

The CBC also decided to encourage members to support an area nonprofit while attending the event.

Last year, the Community Action Commission was the beneficiary. This year CBC chose the (Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky ESNKY) and for each donation members were entered to win raffle prizes.

Kim Webb, executive director of ESNKY, said the organization is grateful to CBC for choosing it as this year’s recipient.

Contributions from Covington Business Council members for the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky included cash donations and much-needed food and personal care items.

“We’re fortunate to have the community support that we do, especially from the businesses here in Northern Kentucky and locally in Covington,” Webb said. “Every donation that they bring is just something else that helps our guests that we shelter and ultimately helps the people that live, here work here and want to stay here.”

ESNKY opened its doors in the winter of 2008 as the region’s only cold weather shelter for adults.

In the summer of 2010, it began providing shelter during the warmer months for men who are working towards achieving housing, income and improvement of health. It was started by a group of concerned citizens and business owners who wanted to ensure that its most vulnerable population had a place to go to during our coldest weather.

ESNKY is open every night starting November 1, regardless of temperature and operates as a first come first serve shelter. When the temperature is below 32 degrees, it makes every attempt to shelter all who needs it, with safety as a priority. It shelters anyone regardless of their physical, mental or spiritual state of being and it is handicap accessible.

The last few winters have been relatively mild, but ESNKY has continued to see a growing demand for its services. Last winter ESNKY saw 650 individuals and totaled 11,000 nights of sheltering. Webb is concerned that if the region experiences a rough winter, the shelter might have a difficult time providing for the needs of its guests.

As members of the Covington Business Council were contributing items to the ESNKY, recipients of that generosity were waiting to get a night of shelter a block away. ESNKY Executive Director Kim Webb said the need for shelter, and for items to support those in need, continues to grow.

“This winter we have already seen more than 200 individuals and we’ve provided over 2,000 nights of sheltering,” Webb said. “We are six weeks into winter that we opened three days early for this year, based on temperatures.”

Unlike the CBC monthly luncheons, which bring member together to discuss topics of regional interest, the holiday party is about having a good time.  Frew said the decision to support a nonprofit has also brought a new energy to the event.

“We are doing this from now on,” Frew said. “This is our second year and it’s a lot of fun. There is no agenda, you can just sit and talk to people, or you can mingle and network.”

It’s also a way for the CBC to acknowledge its volunteers.

“We recognized about 40 or 50 volunteers and they are really the life blood of an organization like ours,” Frew said. “We want to acknowledge what they do in helping us to achieve our goals.”

For more information about ESNKY, or for a list of donation items needed, click here.

To find out more about the Covington Business Council, or to become a member, click here.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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