Giveaway thrives during recession

By: Jerrika Insco Email
By: Jerrika Insco Email

The 33rd Annual Marlow's Christmas for the Needy was in Letcher County this year, and by the looks of the donations, the event did not suffer from the economic recession.

Thousands of people in Letcher County will have a Merry Christmas with Marlow Tackett's help, who says it all started with a little girl's request 33 years ago.

"One little girl called me and asked if I would help her and her five brothers and sisters have Christmas for their mother, and they didn't have a father," said Marlow Tackett, the event organizer.

And Marlow's Christmas Giveaway just keeps growing in people and donations.

"There's folks that came in here and brought stuff to us, and they looked like to me that they needed it. But they still came in and donated to us," said Astor Taylor, a volunteer.

Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that 50% of Americans are poor, which could explain why there is such a need in Eastern Kentucky.

Despite economic hard times, everyone waiting in line went home with donations, and organizers say they expect several items to be left over.

"It's our best year! It's going to take us longer to give our supplies away," said Marlow.

Some people who came for those supplies ended up helping out because they know how hard times can be.

"I came in here and got a bunch of toys and clothes. Then I took it out to my car, and I came back and started helping everybody. Anybody like old people that needs help," said 17-year-old Nathan Cornett, who lives in Letcher County.

"I'm so thankful for what they did for me and my family so I just wanted to put in a helping hand," said 13-year-old Danny Miles, who lives in Letcher County.

Marlow say there is only one way to explain why so many people volunteer year after year.

"Times are hard, but these people have got hearts of gold. I have experienced it, and I know it," said Marlow.

The giveaway will continue through Tuesday.

Last year nearly 7,000 people received donations in Floyd County, and organizers expect even more this year.

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