A Heart for the Homeless

Anchor Club members find fulfillment in serving the less fortunate


Anna Sekula //11, Amelia Sekula // 11 & Janai Gonzalez // 12

Shanda Bailey, Reporter

On a Sunday afternoon at around 1 pm, the smell of Hamburger Helper fills the air at Bicknell Park off of Spring Street. More than 30 people, young and old, in need for a hot meal form a long line waiting to fill up on a nutritious meal that Coordinator Kim Hunt Payne has provided.

Some of the volunteers are NAHS students, like senior Kyleigh Moran.

“Students should take more initiative when it comes to volunteering because it’s important to include different groups in New Albany to feel that sense of a community,” Moran said.

Moran finds herself regularly volunteering for the Sunday meals.

“Out of all the volunteer opportunities that are available through [Anchor Club], I’ve noticed that I see myself regularly volunteering at these Sunday meals due to the relationships that our members develop with the homeless community in New Albany,” Moran said. “They pretty much feel like family, and it’s nice to see a familiar face every Sunday.” 

One Sunday a month, Anchor Club members help hand out potluck meals for those in the community who are less fortunate. Payne organizes the potluck Sunday meals every week and coordinates with Anchor Club Sponsor Stephanie Lone for volunteer information. 

“It’s a really good thing to do and all the people there are so nice and so grateful. It’s really fun to talk to them,” freshman Alex Stillwell said. “It’s great to see people getting the food that they need and I’ll do it with my friends and it’s a really great thing to just do.”

Another initiative Anchor Club took for the homeless population was raising enough money to buy one of the regulars, Ron, a new motorized wheelchair. Ron holds a special place in junior Izzy Fenwick’s heart.

“The first time that I went to feed the homeless, I didn’t know there was gonna be anyone deaf,” Fenwick said. “Both my parents are deaf so I know sign language. Ron, he’s in a wheelchair and he had a stroke and I saw him and he was like ‘Does anyone here know sign language?’ and I do. So I wasn’t really expecting that and it was a really sweet moment. He stood up and gave me a hug which is kind of a big deal; since he had a stroke he can’t use one of his legs, so he stood up, he said for the first time in like three years, he just uses his wheelchair so it was really special.”

 There were 1,928 unhoused individuals in 2021, 288 of them being in the Floyd-Clark County district, according to Policy Institute. New Albany has taken it upon themselves to help in any way they can, Anchor Club specifically.

“We have such a tight-knit relationship with this community in New Albany, which gives us the motivation to continue doing our part and helping them out as much as possible,” Moran said.

Each and every moment spent helping the community is truly special and important for Anchor Club members.

“They always have a smile on their face. They’re always very positive, I think it makes their week to go and see us serving them. It makes them feel special whenever we’re the only people they have in their lives,” Fenwick said.

“I think we, as a community, are doing a lot for them,” Fenwick said. “I mean we could always do more, but I think as a whole we should all do more.”