East Kentucky Dream Center’s ‘Hometown Christmas’ gives toys and food to hundreds of kids

They partnered with Pikeville first responders and the Appalachian Wireless Arena
East Kentucky Dream Center hosts 'Hometown Christmas'
East Kentucky Dream Center hosts 'Hometown Christmas'(WYMT)
Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 4:18 PM EST
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Thursday afternoon, the East Kentucky Dream Center joined together with the Appalachian Wireless Arena, the Pikeville Police and the fire departments to give children a special Christmas.

“It’s hard to see parents struggle but children don’t understand that. Children aren’t supposed to understand that. It’s our job as adults to keep their innocents and to not let them know we struggle as parents,” said Rachel Dotson, the executive director for the East Kentucky Dream Center.

For several years, the center usually hosts ‘Affordable Christmas’, giving families in need a hot meal and take parents shopping for a toy for their children.

With the pandemic, Dotson says she knew they would have to change up the tradition so they created ‘Hometown Christmas’.

“We decided we’re gonna go on through with this. We’re gonna give out toys we’re gonna give out a hefty food box and we’re just going to go ahead and celebrate Christmas,” she said. “We want to help them. We want to make this Christmas unstoppable for these children.”

With generous donations from local businesses and the community, they had enough food to give out but they needed more toys.

“We said, ‘Well hey we know people are hurting and people there’s families that need these toys and kids that need the toys’ so we got with Rachel and the dream center,” said Tony Conn, the public affairs officer with the Pikeville Police Department.

The police department had plenty of toys through many donations for the First Responders Children’s Foundation and wanted to pitch in to help the dream center.

“I’m looking at mom and dad’s faces too where the stress is off of them and that’s a lot of stress on a parent knowing I can’t afford anything or my child and we’ve took that stress off a lot of parents and we’ve took that stress off a lot of kids now that they are going to have Christmas,” said Conn.

Parents chose toys for each of their children, as well as a big food box for their family. Children who attended even received a special surprise.

“Even Santa came today at very short notice from the North Pole and came out here to make these kids have a good Christmas,” said Conn.

Dotson said about 700 children received toys through the event and about 150 food boxes were given out.

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