January 1, 2024 | Local News
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

“Cutter and Cash and the Kentucky Grass” play at 2023’s “Bluegrass on (Lake) Beshear” charity fundraising event on Oct. 7, 2023. COURTESY OF PEYTON WILLIAMS

Pickin’ Life Project raises $50,000 for pro-life pregnancy care centers


The 10th annual “Bluegrass on (Lake) Beshear” one-day music fundraiser, created by Resurrection Parish (Dawson Springs) parishioners Laura and Jeff Smith and sponsored by eight Knights of Columbus councils in western Kentucky, set a new record on Oct. 7, 2023 by raising $42,156. The Knights of Columbus national Aid and Support After Pregnancy (ASAP) program will add another $8,000, making the total benefit from the event $50,156 for life-affirming pregnancy care centers: Alpha PCC in Hopkinsville, Door of Hope in Madisonville and H.O.P.E. Clinic in Benton and Eddyville.

“We are truly humbled by the generosity of regular people in this part of the state, which was devastated by the December 2021 tornado. Even though our parish in Dawson Springs has yet to be rebuilt, several of our supporters suffered severe damages, and everyone is struggling with high inflation, the whole Catholic community has pulled together to create a beautiful musical event and raise impactful funds to help save babies’ lives and families’ hearts,” said co-host Jeff Smith. “In addition, Knights of Columbus councils from Murray, Bowling Green, Calvert City, Hardin/Aurora, Oak Grove, Hopkinsville, Madisonville and Princeton/Dawson Springs/Eddyville sponsored the event this year – the most ever.” 

The Knights of Columbus Supreme office even sent a film crew from Spirit Juice Studios to record this year’s music fest.

The first “Bluegrass on (Lake) Beshear” music event was held in 2014 and raised a modest $2,600. Nine years later, the original idea has produced its own 501(c)(3) charitable organization, The “Pickin’ Life Project,” with a mission to support life from conception until natural death.  It has raised more than $200,000 and distributed all of it to the pregnancy care centers, who are on the front lines protecting babies and families.  The 11th annual “Bluegrass on (Lake) Beshear” music festival will be held on Saturday, Oct 12, 2024. More information is available at www.bluegrassonbeshear.com.  

On Nov. 28, Alpha Pregnancy Care Center of Hopkinsville received a check for $14,052 from the Pickin’ Life Project, one third of the $42,156 raised during 2023’s charity music fundraiser “Bluegrass on (Lake) Beshear.” Pictured are (left to right) Dcn. Mike Marsili; Fr. Chris Kight from Sts. Peter and Paul Parish; Will Hancock from the Knights of Columbus Oak Grove Council; executive director of Alpha PCC Angie Crawford; Grand Knight Rich Hornbeak of the Knights of Columbus Hopkinsville Council; Grand Knight Barry Whitledge of the Knights of Columbus Blessed Trinity Council; and Fr. Emmanuel Udoh, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish. COURTESY OF LAURA SMITH

On Nov. 28, Knights of Columbus Madisonville Council Grand Knight Dr. Jim Donley presented a $14,052 check from the Pickin’ Life Project to executive director Heather Bryant of Door of Hope Pregnancy Care Center. The amount is one third of the $42,156 raised during this year’s one day charity music fest “Bluegrass on (Lake) Beshear.” Also pictured are (left to right) Grand Knight of Knights of Columbus Blessed Trinity Council Barry Whitledge, Brother Jackie Mathis of Dawson Springs and Pickin’ Life Project treasurer Jeff Smith. COURTESY OF LAURA SMITH

On Nov. 29, director of H.O.P.E. Clinic of Lyon County Jennifer Wright receives a $14,052 check from the Pickin’ Life Project presented by Barry Whitledge, Grand Knight of Knights of Columbus Council 15181. The amount is one third of the $42,156 raised during this year’s “Bluegrass on (Lake) Beshear” fundraiser. Also pictured (left to right) are Knights of Columbus district deputy Tom O’Hagan and Council 15181 members: Fr. Fr. Jojy Joseph Olickal (pastor of St. Mark and St. Paul Parishes), George Barber, and Dcn. Paul Bachi. COURTESY OF LAURA SMITH

Originally printed in the January 2024 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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