LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Staff, faculty and students at UK Healthcare in Lexington donated more than 2,000 Christmas gifts to 600 kids in Central Kentucky Friday.
This annual event, called Circle of Love, has been part of UK Healthcare's holiday traditions for about three decades. On Friday morning, groups from eight different Central Kentucky counties picked up bags of gifts requested by the kids themselves.
"We partner with schools there that help with connecting us with the families and the children that they feel have the need and would want some extra gifts this year," explained Katie Hantle, UK Healthcare Volunteer Services Manager.
When Hantle and her team met this summer they agreed, despite COVID-19, they would find a way to carry out the project as they knew the need in 2020 would be even greater than years past.
Hantle explained they extended their process to allow for more social distancing.
"We did a three-day gift return with no contact. People drove their cars up, popped their trunk-we would pull the gifts out and take them to their spot," Hantle said.
She said this annual tradition is special as it touches both the children and those from UK Healthcare who donate.
"It was great to see the staff's response and how happy they were, and what they did for the children this year it was amazing. Like I said, to go through some of these gifts and just think, 'Wow, this child asked for this and this is what they got,'" Hantle recounted. "It brought tears to my eyes just thinking about, you know, seeing the buses drive up even today I'm almost starting to cry and talking about it because it's just so exciting to see it come to fruition today. It's a circle of love to see all of UK Healthcare staff and faculty and students come together with just love to do these for all these students."