JACKSON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Students from Breathitt County Schools were at the Jackson Walmart today picking out some styles for heading back to school.
Some kids couldn't hold back their excitement. Last month’s floods took so many family homes, leaving many with nothing.
These students' teachers said it’s nice to see them smile.
"This is just an excellent opportunity for them to get out, express themselves, and take back some control over their lives. You know, have some happiness, have some time with familiar faces, and just be a kid you know," Marie Roberts Elementary teacher Tosha Allen said.
Another Marie Roberts teacher, Fannie Hall, said, "It's been really rewarding to see the kids get to relax and enjoy getting some things ready for school to start back."
The Craft Foundation — that's Ambassador Kelly Craft and Joe Craft — spearheaded today's event. Volunteers from the K-Club were also out helping students shop. Each student got at least $250 to spend. School officials say today was about bringing students and families joy.
"We have been blessed today and a lot of smiles on their faces, from bicycles to some TVs to school clothes — it's just very humbling and we're very blessed," said Breathitt County Schools Superintendent Phillip Watts.
There are about 100 Breathitt County students that were expected out here today — and district leaders tell us that it's all about giving students a sense of normalcy before they head back to the classrooms.
"They're resilient and they're children and so they need to have that normalcy — and you know I have to tell you what very touching it is the kids are so thankful and so happy," said Craft.
Craft, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, told me this event is another reminder of how much Kentuckians show up for one another — and a reminder of the reward of giving back.
"I'm thankful, I’m grateful that Joe and I have this opportunity to give back and you know that hundreds and thousands actually of Kentuckians have joined us in giving back as well as people all throughout the United States,” said Craft.
Breathitt County's superintendent says this event was just the beginning of what he hopes this school year will be.
"The biggest thing is we just want to see kids coming back into the building, seeing their friends, being able to talk, communicate, smile — and enjoy the start of the school year," said Watts.
After a delay because of the floods, Breathitt County's district will begin classes this coming Monday. School officials tell us that after a traumatic summer, they hope school will be a space where students can feel safe.