Lexington’s Catholic Action Center sent out its signature, yellow ‘Compassionate Caravan’ to help out the homeless population, providing essentials that some people cannot access, starting with sunblock.
The driver of the caravan is Thomas Caudill with the Catholic Action Center, or as everyone knows him, Brother Thomas.
“We’re given out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, roman noodles, water, and Sunny Delight,” Caudill said.
The ‘Compassionate Caravan’ doesn’t go out every day; only during extreme weather conditions, which is why Caudill drove it to the spots where he usually sees homeless people gather.
“Just places where we see them with signs all the time,” Caudill said, and he’s referring to the Robert Stephens Park downtown and North Park across from the Lyric Theatre.
Caudill is the familiar face the homeless community is always relieved to see.
“They ask me, ‘Where you been?’ So they’re looking for me,” Caudill said.
Caudill is compelled to help the homeless because he said he used to live a life that put him on the verge of homelessness at one point.
“It can happen to anybody; mental health, alcohol, drugs,” Caudill said.
Driving from one spot to the next, Caudill said he’s helped around 60 people each day this week.
Kyler Wayne who lives in Lexington but is from Cincinnati, Ohio said he never saw a ‘Compassionate Caravan’ in his hometown.
“There’s places that don’t get that,” Wayne said. “I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio, and this is heaven compared to Cincinnati, Ohio.”
The homeless community is depending on donations from the Catholic Action Center for their livelihood during the heatwave.
However, a gentleman named Eric who stays in the North Park across from the Lyric Theatre said the donations offset other problems homeless people face, and what they feel the city took away from them.
“They treat us bad,” Eric said.
Eric asked why the city provides doggie bags for pet owners, “but they don’t put nothing out here for us to use the bathroom. Got a lot people that come out on weekends and feed us, but we got nowhere to go after we eat.”
Eric then points to a light post and asks why the city covered up the outlets.
“If we can’t charge our phones, how we going to call the doctor, our lawyers, our kids,” Eric said.
But to that point, that is why ‘Brother Thomas’ Caudill made sure he was telling every person he handed essentials to about the nearest shelter to them.
“That’s my brother and sister. If I had a sister out here or a family member, I’d want someone to help them,” Caudill said.
The Catholic Action Center plans to make more runs as long as the heatwaves last for.
It’s in need of snacks and juice donations. For those who would like to donate and help the ‘Compassionate Caravan’ help those in need, contact director and co-founder Ginny Ramsey at email@example.com or call 859-255-0301.