By LARRY VAUGHT
It figured to be just another call from a Kentucky fan to coach John Calipari’s weekly radio show Wednesday night but it turned into much more.
A caller said thanks to Calipari and his wife, Ellen, for their donation to help federal employees in Lexington who have not been getting a paycheck because of the government shutdown.
The Kentucky coach didn’t announce what he was doing. Instead, the caller — and other workers — got an email telling them of Calipari’s offer to help them financially. The caller works at a federal prison (I have a friend working there who has not been paid since Dec. 21).
The Calipari Foundation is working with REACH Inc. and Kroger to provide financial support to the federal workers.
“We’re going to try to touch all 400 of them,” Calipari said. “These people that are being hurt. They’re from Lexington. They’re our friends, they’re our neighbors. Part of it was you just want them to know that you care or you understand or you feel.”
The coach said him and his wife grew up “payday to payday” and knew the pain the workers were feeling.
“You’re not talking $200,000 jobs, you’re talking federal employees. The postal and the military, they’re still being paid, but how about who’s being furloughed. There’s 400, almost 500 people who aren’t being paid (in Lexington).”
He said Kroger would be able to help with pharmacy needs, gasoline or food but he also knows other workers may simply need cash.
Federal workers in Lexington who are not being paid can contact REACH at 859-455-8057.
His hope is that workers being helped will do what his mother taught him — pay it forward.
“Take what we gave you to hold you over and give it to somebody else. Hopefully that helps them,” Calipari said.