DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WEHT) Instead of traveling to other towns that have Walmart stores, employees from several area Walmarts traveled to Dawson Springs to help residents rebuild after the tornado and regain some of the Christmas spirit.
Before the tornado, the high school gymnasium was reportedly filled with either high school students for gym class or people watching the Panthers play basketball. Instead, it’s full of people trying to get back what they lost a few days before Christmas.
“The mission was to bring a little taste of Christmas to an area going through tragedy,” said Margaret Hayes, manager of Walmart in Princeton, Ky.
From sweaters to Santa Claus, it was to help sparkle the spirits three days before Christmas.
“I shop for my granddaughter and one year old grandson,” said Pam Miles of Dawson Springs. “Where it was left it was torn apart.”
“He’s going to give Christmas presents to the family. It has helped us wonderfully. Let’s put presents under the tree, ”adds Marvin Massey of Dawson Springs.
“I know for a fact that there are a lot of people in need here,” said Braelynn Vincent of Dawson Springs.
Walmart employees and volunteers spent 20 hours setting up a temporary Christmas store so families could buy free toys and bikes for the kids and other things they might need. Nearly five hundred families were due to shop at school today, some very close to Hayes.
“I have a lot of my associates who come from this region. 13 associates lost their homes. It’s very personal for me and important in the community, ”she recalls. “To do it here in a community like this, I am overwhelmed with joy. “
Hayes says they wanted to help the tornado victims and also bring back some of the Christmas spirit. Some buyers have appreciated the help given to their small community.
“It’s a blessing. It is a blessing that they are coming here. Not just them, but just about everyone who has shown their support for our small community, ”said Miles.
Walmart executives say it’s not the first time they’ve had events like this. They’ve been hosting similar events in Mayfield and Bowling Green in recent days.
(This story originally appeared on December 22, 2021)