CINCINNATI — Frigid temperatures are affecting everyone across Kentucky, especially the homeless. On Jan. 14, Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Ky., declared a State of Emergency before the severe winter weather arrived.

One northern Kentucky volunteer group went out to serve their unhoused neighbors in the cold weather.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Ky., declared a State of Emergency before winter storms arrived 

  • According to Kentucky Emergency Management,, five Kentuckians died in connection with the freezing temperatures 

  • Volunteer group,Walk the Mile, started nearly 11 years ago by a family from Erlanger, Kentucky 

  • The group passed out nearly 100 coats and bagged lunches to the unhoused community

Self-described as an average midwestern, middle class family of five, the Croyle’s woke up one day nearly 11 years ago and made brown bag lunches and hand out winter clothing to unhoused people in northern Kentucky.

William Croyle, chairman of the nonprofit Walk the Mile, said standing in freezing weather to distribute supplies is only a taste of what unhoused people experience regularly.

“I go out, shovel a [driveway] and feel how cold it is and know I can go back inside,” he said. “But they can’t.” 

The family travels across northern Kentucky and the Cincinnati area to find unhoused people who may need supplies. While traveling, they found many unhoused people rushed to local libraries to keep warm. They decided to set up outside the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library, just across the bridge from Kentucky. 

“As much as we like to go out and walk the streets and find where people are, sometimes that’s hard when it’s this cold,” he said. “We know that they come to the library on these cold days, and they’ll sit in the open until close.” 

On Friday, Jan. 19, Beshear continued to urge Kentuckians to take extra precautions to stay warm and safe as the state saw more snowfall, freezing temperatures and hazardous road conditions. Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) also reported five Kentuckians have died in connection with the recent freezing weather.

“If we just park outside the library here, as soon as one person comes out and walks back in with stuff, they all see and they all start coming out and word spreads quickly,” Croyle said. 

Croyle was right, as a dozen rushed from the warmth of the library to grab essential supplies. 

“We’re very fortunate to have what we have ... but we can’t save people,” he said. “We can’t end homelessness, but if we can provide them with a little hope and get them to tomorrow, that’s really what we try to do.” 

In just a couple of hours, the group handed out 96 winter coats, 96 meals and 400 hand warmers. The family added they are always seeking volunteers who want to help but may not know where to start.

More information about the group can be found on its Facebook page