Uptown Christmas event will aid Pantry

A church and a law firm will collect food for Pastor's Pantry on Sunday afternoon at Uptown Lexington's Christmas Open House.

Uptown Lexington’s annual Christmas Open House, scheduled this Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., will help fill Pastor’s Pantry’s shelves with food.

“Seventeen years ago, Uptown Lexington Inc. started Christmas Open House as a way for the community to celebrate the holiday season,” said Jo Ellen Edwards, Uptown Lexington’s executive director. “It also brought attention to the many merchants in uptown Lexington and served as a reminder to shop here before heading to the malls for Black Friday.”

Again this year, in addition to celebrating the holiday season, the event will give back to the community. This Sunday, Nov. 21, members of First Reformed United Church of Christ and employees of the Brinkley Walser law firm will join together to collect non-perishable food items for Pastor’s Pantry, the food bank for senior adults in financial need in Davidson County.

“First Reformed UCC held the first food drive during last year’s Christmas Open House,” said Edwards. “We are so pleased these two groups in our district are partnering to help Pastor’s Pantry, an organization located just outside of the district.”

David Inabinett, managing member of Brinkley Walser PLLC, said, “The local economy has been slow to rebound. We continue to hear of local families needing assistance with the basics of food and shelter. The staff here at Brinkley Walser felt that it was important to find a way to give back to the community. The food drive is a great way to help by ensuring the local pantry shelves are stocked to meet the need. We hope everyone in the area will donate what they can and that those outside of Davidson County will consider donating to their local food banks.”

Lynn Klopp, food drive coordinator for First Reformed UCC, said because the church is located uptown but is not a retail merchant, “a food drive was a natural way for our church members to be part of this annual event.” The food drive is one of the activities undertaken by the church’s Board of Community Outreach.

Bill Keesler, executive director of Pastor’s Pantry, said the drive during the Christmas Open House “will provide a much-needed boost to our food supplies. As the difficult economy continues, our client list for monthly groceries has grown to nearly 500 Davidson Countians — not just senior adults but also younger members of their households, including grandchildren and great-grandchildren — as well as others of all ages needing food on an emergency basis. Serving that many people requires more food. We are deeply grateful to members of First Reformed United Church of Christ and employees of Brinkley Walser for the time and effort they are devoting to help us.”

Karen Greene, business manager for Brinkley Walser, said when she was asked by the firm’s management team to organize a firm service project, she “saw the Lexington Christmas Open House information and the plan for a food drive just fell into place. There is so much good that we can all do if we just watch for opportunities. I’m proud to work for a firm that is so focused on the community where we do business.”

This new partnership will give Christmas Open House attendees a place on both sides of Main Street to drop off food items during the event: an area on East Center Street at First Reformed UCC, which will be coordinated by church members, and the NewBridge parking lot at the corner of West Center and State streets, which will be coordinated by law firm employees. In addition, items can be dropped off at Brinkley Walser’s offices at 10 LSB Plaza from Nov. 15-24 during regular business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“We are also very excited to be part of Uptown Lexington Inc.’s Christmas Open House,” said Keesler. “For me personally, the Open House has always been one of my favorite events of the year in Lexington. I’m really glad that while we are having fun kicking off the Christmas season, we can also help people in need.”

Michael Holshouser, president of the Uptown Lexington board of directors, said ULI “is pleased two groups in our uptown district will be joining Christmas Open House as a way to give back to our community. We encourage all who can to contribute to the drive.”

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