VIRGIE, Ky. (WYMT) - Thousands filled the Old Virgie High School Gym for a Christmas party complete with music, presents, Santa Claus, and lots of love. It is Marlow Tackett's 35th annual, 'Christmas for the Needy'. Earning him the nickname, Mountain Santa.
Karen Boane, a volunteer from Tennessee says, "He came from a family of 16 and all they received was an apple, orange, and some candy."
Now each year Tackett gives out thousands of apples and oranges...as well as toys, clothes, furniture, and other necessities. All donated, with many donations coming from other states like Tennessee and North Carolina.
Boane says, "There's a lot of good people...it is what we look at, what we see. What we see through our eyes and when you give, you get back."
"The program really helps a lot of families," explains Tracy Huff. She says it helps her family have a better Christmas. "There are a lot of people in need in this area," says Huff.
Tackett's friends say faith is what makes the program possible and they are all God's little helpers
Pearl Little says, "Just to watch their faces light up, it is a miracle within itself."
Bringing miracles throughout Eastern Kentucky for the past 3 decades, this year being the first in this part of Pike County.
Tackett says he is thrilled to bring his annual Christmas party to Virgie, just down the road from where he grew up.
"I walked out of those mountains to school and just became a believer in Kentucky and someone that loves Kentucky. Even though I had to leave to play my music and make a living just like everyone else, but you know where your hear is at...it is so simple," explains Tackett.
To the thousands in the gym, it is clear where this man's heart is, and what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.
The Tacketts say about 8,000 people came through the gym in Virgie on Saturday.