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Philanthropic committee streamlines giving

BY CORIANNE EGAN cegan@paducahsun.com

Paducah has no shortage of charities and fundraisers. On any given weekend, there's a variety of 5K runs, dinners and all-out extravaganza events. For some, it is hard to chose which to support or how to support them, but a new group in Paducah wants to make certain everyone feels the love.

The Paducah Philanthropic Committee will hold its first meeting at noon Monday. Since announcing the idea several months ago, chairman Kenn Gray said more than 80 people have joined the group and even more have liked its Facebook page. The idea is to put together a charitable army, Gray said, ready to give or help with any cause.

"It can be something as small as a food pantry needing extra food, or a group who wants to put on a large event and needs help," Gray said. "Or it can be an already established event where we just come in to help. We can work on a few events simultaneously, and this way no one gets burned out."

The PPC already has its first event planned - a Valentine's Day dinner-dance co-hosted by Occasions Unlimited - which will benefit the American Cancer Society. The group will meet Monday at the Irvin Cobb Event Center and discuss future events. Among those are the Empty Bowls Project and the Wine & Chocolate Festival.

Mayor Gayle Kaler said she is impressed with the organization, and hopes it works well enough to grow.

"I  would like to see it expanded, maybe to have a youth group so that younger volunteers can get involved with the community," Kaler said. "The more young people are involved and the more ownership they take, the more likely they are to come back to Paducah to live and make the community a better place."

With more than 500 likes on Facebook already, the PPC is already turning into a forum for philanthropic opportunities to be posted and shared. In the coming months, Gray hopes his team of 80-and-climbing can help charities reach their goals.

"It is my hope that we, as a group, will change the hearts and minds of many with our service, that we will touch those who need help and that we will bring to mind a philanthropic attitude to those who have forgotten what lies outside themselves," Gray said. "We all can benefit from the successes of others."

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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