The Office of the First Lady first organized the drive in 2008 after the Domestic Violence Shelter requested help securing more state funds.
Officials in Frankfort were wrestling with budget strains and many programs faced funding cuts. Instead of seeking budget allocations, Beshear said her office decided to partner with Kroger and recruit aid through charitable donations.
Each year, the event has collected more than $200,000 worth of goods to be distributed among Kentucky shelters. Donations include items such as shampoo, diapers, canned vegetables, pasta, detergent and dryer sheets.
Diane Willoughby, director of the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program, said the contributions help cope with the everyday costs of running a shelter.
“In these tough economic times with budget cuts and things of that nature, this just helps reduce our cost and allow us to focus our money on the end goal,” she said.
According to figures from the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, close to 4,000 new victims enter domestic violence programs across the state each year. Most are women and children, although men comprise a handful of admissions.
Meanwhile, more than 4,400 victims reside in shelters each year, for an average of 51 days.
“There are more people right now in need of these services then ever before,” Beshear said. “Whenever there are financial problems, domestic violence goes up.”
Beshear said every Kroger in the state was participating in Shop & Share on Saturday, and she expected to raise a larger amount of money this year. Her next stop after leaving Winchester was the Kroger on Richmond Road in Lexington, where she planned to fill up another shopping cart.
“It warms your heart to see the generosity of people,” she said.
Also helping organize the day were the Kentucky Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Kentucky Commission on Women and the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana.
Contact Mike Wynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.