First lady Britainy Beshear invites tornado victims to a Christmas in July toy drive

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 17:53:17-04

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — The holiday season is still a few months away, but families in Campbellsville and the surrounding area got to come out and enjoy Christmas in July.

First lady Britainy Beshear and Governor Andy Beshear, along with several other state representatives, greeted families impacted by tornadoes late last year into early 2022.

There was a lot of holiday cheer at Campbellsville High School's gym in Taylor County today. First lady Britainy Beshear and Governor Andy Beshear held a Christmas in July toy drive for Kentucky's tornado victims who didn't get a chance to celebrate the holidays.

One Campbellsville victim, Anita Haulk, says last year was the "first year in my whole life I've never had a Christmas tree."

It was an emotional day for families. Many of the people who came out are still without homes. One mom of four, Lauren Gordon, says she and her family had just moved into their new home in 2018. She was grateful to still be able to celebrate the holidays.

"Mass amounts of glass, dishes, and wood littered the house and through the tree. But our tree was still standing, you know. And to me, that meant something," says Gordon.

So many families shared that they are continuing to pick up the pieces but Friday is an opportunity for their kids to have fun.

Gordon says, "I'm just trying to show them that it's okay. It's okay to be scared, it's okay to move forward. Like it's, unfortunately, it's a part of life, and this is where we have to go."

Kids got to pick from several gifts and enjoy activities and just being a kid.

First Lady Britainy Beshear shared, "It's a moment for families to feel joy together. [It's to] forget whatever it is that's going on outside these walls for this moment, and to be kids, and families. And together, and hopefully, that is something they can carry with them when the days and the nights are not as easy."

Families that have been impacted say it feels good knowing the community is still there.

Gordon admitted, "It's encouraging to see people because you just kind of assume after about two weeks, maybe a month, you're gonna be forgotten about. We still have people reaching out to us regularly asking us what we need."

This holiday season will mark one year since these families' most challenging moments. This mom says it's a moment to remember and to be closer together.

"We need to remember it but remember it with thankfulness and lightheartedness in knowing that God spared us for a reason," says Gordon.

At Friday's event, Governor Andy Beshear shared that $52 million were raised by people and companies around the country, and $35 million of that has already been put out to help families.

Several more toy drives will take place this month for those impacted by the storms. To find those days and times, click here.