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Madison County Partner Agency Spotlight: Kentucky River Foothills

As we continue our journey around Madison County, let’s get to know more about Kentucky River Foothills!

Founded in 1962, Kentucky River Foothills is Madison County’s designated Community Action Agency. They use needs-based strategies and family-based services to help people achieve self-sufficiency and economic self-reliance. KY River Foothills serves over 40 different programs, including three programs for our aging community members, which are supported by UWBG: Richmond Active Living Center, Berea Senior Citizens Center and James B. Allen Generations Center in Winchester.

The staff at KY River Foothills pride themselves in their high-quality aging programs. They serve seniors 60 and older by providing socialization, recreation, exercise programs and nutritious meals. Their overall goal is to enhance their clients’ qualities of life. “When you give to the United Way of the Bluegrass, you help the seniors that live here in Madison County,” said Karen Atkins, Public Information Officer.

Before Covid-19, senior citizens would gather at the center to participate in activities such as exercise classes, educational presentations, pool, bingo, cards, puzzles, parties, field trips and more. Due to the Governor’s mandate, the centers stopped their in-person programming on March 13th. However, they have not stopped serving their community. They have shifted their focus to delivering nutritious meals to anyone over 60 who needs them. Since the pandemic began impacting our community in March, KY River Foothills has served over 51,000 meals and assisted over 200 clients in Richmond, Berea and Winchester. “Many seniors would be food-deprived without us,” said Heather Slone, Director of the Richmond Active Living Center.

The Richmond Active Living Center, Berea Senior Citizens Center and James B. Allen Generations Center have continued to serve by dropping off surprise packages at seniors’ steps to check on them and remind them that they care. They are providing seniors with materials on topics such as Covid-19, utility assistance, Medicare, nutrition benefits, educational topics, and ways to stay active and healthy at home. They also make daily telephone reassurance calls to check if the seniors need anything, and provide other services such as scheduling doctor’s appointments, making sure they have medical supplies and medication, providing personal care, delivering grocery items and assisting with expenses.

Larry, a participant at the Richmond Active Living Center, is a good example of the positive impact that Kentucky River Foothills makes in the lives of seniors. After the pandemic hit, Larry was no longer able to travel around town because bus services had stopped. With his COPD condition, it was difficult for him to get places like the grocery store and laundromat.

A few months ago, he was struggling financially. However, the people at Kentucky River Foothills stepped in. “They went overboard, they helped me get my rent paid, helped me pay my electric bill, and stuff like that. You can imagine what a relief it is. They’ve brought exercise instructions on how to keep the body motivated as well as recipes for nutritious meals. They’re just kind. I would have never expected half of the things they’ve done for me. They are the nicest people and they really care,” said Larry.

This story is just one example of how the people at Kentucky River Foothills are impacting seniors across the Bluegrass. Thank you to everybody at Kentucky River Foothills, Richmond Active Living Center, Berea Senior Citizens Center, and James B. Allen Generations Center who are effecting positive change in their community and beyond!

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