From left to right are Mrs. Shelley Kimble, Mrs. Clyde Lee, & Mrs. E.C. Hardesty.

by Mrs. Elgie Goodloe

Jan 25.--The youngster took another bite from the apple, looked at it and carelessly tossed the partially-eaten fruit into the waste paper basket in the room at school, where several children were staying because of inclement weather which prohibited their playing outside.The teacher, Mrs. A.P. Prather, a few minutes later noticed another child go to the basket and salvage the uneaten apply and hurridly gulp it down. In other words the child was hungry. That was in October, 1946. Also that was in Earlington graded school.

The incident leaked out and it got to the ears of Civic Club members, who immediately decided to do something about it if there were hungry children in the community. A fund was started and each time the club met contributions were made to start a project whereby children in school would be fed at least one wholesome noon meal. A plan was outlined and the children were sent daily during the school week to one of the local restaurants where they were given a meal. At one time, 30 such children were being cared for. It soon became apparent that this fund was insufficient to do the job well.

A story was featured in the Earlington weekly newspaper and in short order letters began to arrive in which former local citizens living out of town and in other states sent contributions and specified if any more help was needed to notify them. P.D. Murphy, grandson of the present Judge Jeff Murphy, read the story while he was on the front in Europe and immediately airmailed a check to the fund. At the close of the school term, it was estimated that the venture had cost approximately $50 a week. Multiply that number by the 9-month school term, and the amount was terrific. That was 1946. In the following year, the situation was unimproved. In order to cut expenses and not leave any child without a meal, the Ursuline Sisters at the parochial school volunteered to feed several at the low cost of 25 cents per meal per child. This helped a great deal. Then the inevitable, of course. More money had to be raised if the project was to continue.

The solution for that particular time seemed that a house-to-house canvass for contributions had to be made in the business section of the city. Contributions amounted to enough to tide them through 1947. But when the same procedure had to be undertaken the following year, volunteers to solicit funds were practically drafted--nobody wanted to do it. The same few had grown tired of having, year after year, to again ask for money to carry it another year or longer as the need was still acute. On the 15th of October, 1948 Mesdames Ed Rule, Hardy Wyatt, Elgie Goodloe, Bill Trigg, Harry Nunnally and O.A. Vannoy gave a silver tea in the Legion home and rasied sufficient funds to see it through another month.

While the funds were exhausted, Mrs. Hardesty, who was visiting in the office of the News, asked the question: "Why can't we have a lunch room and stop all this soliciting and uncertainty?" Then and there the idea was born. The committee that same afternoon, Oct. 27, was organized and included Mrs. Hardesty, Mrs. Goodloe, and Mrs. Vannoy. When the school board met for the first session in Nov., Mrs. Hardesty, Mrs. John Earl East, pres. of the PTA, and Mrs. Goodloe, a member of the Earlington News staff, brought the matter before the board. The late Ralph Dudley, board member, was heartily in favor of it and volunteered that in any way he could help, or be instrumental in encouraging the project, he would. That visit resulted in the school giving the committee the right to use a vacant room on the ground floor in the graded school. The committee looked the room over and almost backed out, for it was seemingly an impossibility to get it ready and have a room the state board of school lunchrooms would approve. Dr. C.B. Johnson, board member, set to work and had the room cleaned, junk hauled off and paid personally for much of the cleaning up. Mrs. Charles Price called and donated a white enamel kitchen sink. When Cleatus Overton heard of the project, he too came to the committee's aid, built a cabinet about the sink and painted it white, free gratis.

Mrs. Goodloe and Mrs. Hardesty spoke to the American Legion members at their 2nd Oct. meeting and, when they finished their talks, the post commander John Wyatt Jr., and several members stated that the matter would be taken under consideration and help forthcoming. And it was, with a splendid donation which made possible the electric stove and refrigerator.

In appealing to the head of the county coal companies, the official said: "I think it a wonderful idea, and you 3 women certainly have courage to start the project, but I believe that it is too large an undertaking." But the latter part of the week he sent a check. Many persons in the community voluntarily brought their donations and soon the lunchroom began to emerge complete and modern in every respect. That was in Oct. '48. On Jan. 9, '49, when school convened after the holidays, the lunchroom was in operation, with Mrs. Hardesty as supervisor and Mrs. Clyde Lee and Mrs. Marshall Blake as assistants.

Each year improvements have been made and today the lunch room is truly an evidence of the work on the part of the personnel operating it and the cooperation of a majority of the pupils and faculty. It has made possible well-balanced and nourishing meals for those who can't afford to purchase them, as well as others who enjoy eating in the school lunch room. The project which looked in 1949 as a hopeless task has proved to be just the contrary. The citizens are invited to go at any time and inspect it and visit with Mrs. Hardesty and her assistants, Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Shelley Kimbel.

[Note: The preceeding article was loaned to us by Richard Kimbel, son of Shelley Kimbel. Richard is the husband of Shirley Sharp Jones Kimbel (EHS '60). There is no date on the article which appeared in the Earlington NEWS. It is possibly Jan 25, '49. Ann]