By Hannah Mackenzie
HENDERSONVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — A group of Henderson County residents are getting into the spirit of Christmas by helping out their neighbors in need – some of whom are more than 300 miles away.
This year, members of the Hendersonville Elks Lodge decided to expand their annual Christmas food and toy drive to include those impacted by recent tornadoes in Kentucky.
This is the 30th year the Hendersonville Elks Lodge has organized and operated the holiday handout event, exalted ruler Mike Pace said.
“It’s really a big effort that helps a lot of people,” Pace said.
According to Pace, this year, 130 care packages will benefit local families in need. A few dozen more will be donated to flood victims in Cruso.
The remaining food and toys will be heading northwest.
“Santa Claus is taking the rest to Kentucky,” Pace said. “Over 500 toys, easily.”
Much of the state is still reeling from a rash of deadly tornadoes. The outbreak occurring less than two weeks ago. Local officials have confirmed at least 76 fatalities and more than 1,000 properties destroyed. leaving many with nothing this Christmas.
“You never know when things like that are going to come your way,” lodge member Greg Hunnicutt said. “To send toys and to send anything that we can to those unfortunate people, that’s just, that just tugs at your heartstrings. It really does.”
This is Hunnicutt’s 28th year taking part in the Christmas food and toy drive. Over the years, he said the operation has greatly expanded.
Each care package is filled with about two weeks’ worth of food and supplies, Hunnicutt said. About $15,000 worth of groceries was donated by Harris Teeter.
According to Pace, Toys for Tots coordinated the toy distribution.
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