For the last five years, Robin Jones was the kitchen manager at ACCESS Soup Kitchen and Men’s Shelter in downtown Frankfort.
She coordinated the volunteers for the mission program and organized meal preparation daily for anywhere from 60 to 110 people, depending on the time of the month.
More than that, Jones knew the people served by the facility and was always welcoming, former Executive Director Andrew Baker said.
Tuesday morning, Jones, 56, of Frankfort, was killed outside the shelter and kitchen on West Second Street. Police charged 39-year-old Clifton Sapp of Frankfort with murder. Police said the two were acquaintances but weren’t sure how well they knew each other.
A statement from the ACCESS board of directors said the two were friendly toward each other.
"The assailant was a client of the shelter and had been for several months," the statement said. "He had the same friendly exchanges with Robin that many of the men do, with her buying him cigarettes and him buying her Mountain Dews from time to time. This tragic incident came with no warning, no build-up of hostility or violence."
According to Jones' Facebook page, she was from Frankfort and went to Franklin County High School and Kentucky State University. The board said she is survived by a sister and a son.
ACCESS Executive Director James Barnett said Jones worked as a volunteer and employee at the facility for more than a decade.
“She was not just an employee, or someone who served a meal to the community; she was family to hundreds of people that came in to eat and men who stayed in the shelter,” Barnett wrote on the shelter’s Facebook page. “She didn't ask for awards, or publicity, or any recognition.
“She gave freely of herself to everyone no matter their background, only caring about how she could help them and improve their lives. I watched her take shoes off her feet and winter coats off her back and give them to people she had just met because they were in need. She showed God's love to everyone, through deeds and not words.”
A statement from the ACCESS board of directors said Jones was part of the organization for 12 years.
"Every day she helped dozens of the most vulnerable people in Frankfort and Franklin County," the statement read. "She was a friend to anyone who came into our facility. She had a huge heart, especially for children. Her presence undeniably made a difference as she exemplified the core of our mission every single day while adding her own personal touch of love, compassion and a listening ear. Needless to say, she was passionate about the work she did and because of such, many lives were impacted by her love."
Baker said one of her defining traits was knowing the people she helped.
“She was from the community in which we served,” Baker said. “She had some different things she had issues with, but she knew everyone who came to the kitchen for lunch.”
Baker said he hired Jones around 2015 to oversee the kitchen.
“She was a big part of that place,” he said. “She made things happen.”
“It’s more than a soup kitchen,” Baker said. “It’s more than a homeless shelter. It’s a place where community people can come and be with their people. That’s a community center."
Barnett said Jones set the example for how to serve and love people.
“As I sit here in tears, I promise that the way you touched lives, improved the world around you, we will follow your example and you will forever be remembered and be a light of love and goodness we will follow,” Barnett wrote. “I love you, I miss you and I am grateful God blessed me with the the short time we shared. I am a better person because you were in my life.”