ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) — The efforts to help out those on the ground in Mayfield, Kentucky, after the tornadoes devastated the area last weekend continue, and locally collection efforts are drawing in even out-of-state help.
On Monday, the First Lady of Kentucky announced the Western Kentucky Toy Drive to help give children affected by the tornadoes some holiday cheer.
13 regional Kentucky State Police posts were part of the donation collections. Friday, Ashland Post 14 began to pack it all up.
“Our goal is to make sure that these children that have gone through a horrific experience don’t sit and wonder, ‘why couldn’t Santa find me?’ ‘What did I do wrong that my house was blown away and I’m living in a shelter?’ And to take the load off the parents. Their families lost everything, some have lost siblings, and it’s just a matter of caring for our fellow man,” says Tom Powell, founder of Toy Lift Charities in Charlottesville, Virginia, who drove around six hours to deliver toys to Post 14 Friday.
With this goal in mind, three tractor-trailers loaded with toys and goods arrived in Ashland.
“Most families lost everything they had and there’s really no stores to buy anything down that way so in order for them to have a Christmas, they’re asking for toys to be donated so we can get ’em to the kids,” says Master Trooper Shane Goodall, public affairs officer for Ashland Kentucky State Post 14.
The community overwhelmingly showed their support for this project. As far as the number of toys:
“From this post, I would say hundreds, if not thousands. I could not believe the amount of response that we’ve had, from the First Lady Beshear’s, her project that she had put on and from out of state how many people had give to us also,” Goodall says.
Folks came from hours away, across state lines, to give hundreds if not thousands of kids who were affected by the tornadoes in western Kentucky a little bit of holiday cheer this year.
“We left this morning about five o’clock and pulled in here…There’s probably altogether between four and five hundred different toys in there. We’re glad to be here and transfer these toys to the kids that need ’em,” says Barry Leonard, a Jaffa Shriner from Altoona, Pennsylvania, who delivered a tractor-trailer with toys Friday.
“We just came from a toy drive in Charlottesville where we took care of almost 3700 children…To sit back and know that we had toys that we could use and went out and got more yesterday, and filled that 16 foot trailer up to be able to help with Governor Beshear’s drive to make sure that these children have something,” Powell says.
Troopers at Post 14 say the truck they loaded in Ashland Friday is headed to Frankfort and then on to the western part of the state.
The toy drive runs through Saturday, and troopers also say if they still receive anything they will make sure it gets to the right place.
For more information about the toy drive, visit this website.