LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After learning USA Harvest Founder Stan Curtis pleaded guilty to defrauding the nonprofit, leaders with Kentucky Harvest hoped Curtis' admission of guilt would help restore the reputation of many area non-profits.
"One thing that's been kind of messy," began Kentucky Harvest Chairman of the Board Brent Smith, "is that there's kind of been the guilty by association, but actually Kentucky Harvest was in no way associated with USA Harvest at any time."
It is something Brent Smith said Kentucky Harvest had been dealing with since Stan Curtis' indictment of defrauding USA Harvest in 2012. Ever since, Kentucky Harvest's name and motives had been often questioned over the years by many as a result.
"Maybe it's because of the name closeness," said Smith. "It has had a negative impact. We've had to address a lot of questions."
Despite the guilt by association, Smith said Kentucky Harvest had been able to stick with its focus of moving food from people who give it to people who need it.
"We still moved over two million pounds of food in the last two years. We haven't really seen a drop off there. Donors have actually gone up this year. So, you know, people are realizing that they're helping hungry people has not changed."
Smith said through the experience, Kentucky Harvest had made changes to its operation, including the implementation of a strategic five year plan.
"The beauty of this," began Smith, "is that with adversity lies opportunity. We've used that to really move forward."
USA Harvest did not return WAVE 3 News' request for comment. Meanwhile, staff with Blessings in a Backpack did not wish to comment on Curtis' guilty plea, saying they were not involved in any investigations.
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