Wintry blast didn't slow Empty Stocking Fund

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The snow storm hit both Harlan and Letcher Counties hard.

That did not stop dozens of volunteers with the Tri-City Empty Stocking Fund from assisting hundreds of families who need help this christmas.

A knock on the door came as a surprise to many people in the Tri-City area this morning. Jim "Muggins" Bennett was also surprised by how many people showed up to deliver food baskets and gifts.

"I figured the doors would be locked and no one would be here this morning. But I got here and there was 15 to 20 people standing out here with trucks, saying come on let's go," said Bennett.

For Joseph Trushel and his family, it's their second year helping out. He says it's a cause that's close to their hearts.

"Muggins has helped my family out a great, great deal. We get a basket too and our kids get gifts too. He's helped me out with employment and he's just been a blessing to my life," said Trushel.

Volunteers also came from as far as Louisville to help out. The group drove through the height of Friday's storm to get here.

"It started snowing pretty hard. Then we noticed the biggest snowflakes, the size of apples, were coming down and coming down quick," said Ron Ohlmann.

They also brought more than 1,200 cans of food and dozens of gifts.

"I had people I did not even know show up at my doorstep and give us green beans. Some of them wrote checks and some of them just bought the gifts and brought them," said Vonna Ohlmann.

"We're going to get them delivered. It's going to take time, but it's what it's all about," added Bennett.

Volunteers hope their efforts inspire others to do the same.

Nearly 600 families are getting help this year. Most of the boxes have been delivered, but Bennett says some might have to wait until Sunday.

The Tri-City Empty Stocking Fund is in its 29th year.

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