Mission of Hope Christmas Crusade: UK Retiree Opens Her Heart – And Pocketbook

Janet Hyatt pulled into the Lexington Family Magazine parking lot with her car packed full of gifts for the Mission of Hope’s Big Blue Barrel Christmas drive.

Hauling all of Hyatt’s donations from the parking lot to the office took multiple trips – she even had to return the next day to finish her giving spree.

Hyatt is not from Eastern Kentucky, but Mission of Hope struck her as a way to make a difference.

“Several years ago I saw Mission of Hope, and it just – something about it made me want to give,” Hyatt said. “Eastern Kentucky has fallen on hard times, hard times that have gone on maybe forever.”

Mission of Hope, a Knoxville-based Christian charity, serves more than 18,000 students at 28 schools in the poorest Appalachian counties. To meet this demand, MOH sets up Big Blue Barrels around Central Kentucky from Nov. 18- Dec. 5, where people can drop off new clothing, toys, non-perishable food items and hygiene products.

Hyatt’s donations will go to some of those 18,000 students in need, but MOH Executive Director Emmette Thompson said “the time has long since passed where the Big Blue Barrel collections fill all of our needs for children.”

To help meet that need, people can also make tax-deductible donations.

For Hyatt, she said it feels good to donate. She retired from her IT job at UK in 2003, and then went to work at Macy’s for two years.

As a Macy’s employee she purchased toys and clothes in the clearance section with her employee discount for a real bargain, knowing she would donate the things she bought.

“I had a lot more stuff than I thought,” she said. “And it feels good. I like that I’m doing something for somebody who needs it.”

Though she no longer works at Macy’s, Hyatt will continue to purchase clothes and toys to give away during future

holiday seasons.

People can find Big Blue Barrels at the following locations: Lexington Family Magazine, Chick-fil-A locations, Curves locations, Kids Place, the Explorium, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Monkey Joe’s, and Collins Bowling Centers at Southland and Eastland.

Info: www.missionofhope.org or (865) 584-7571