Lexington church toy drive helps homeless students

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — No matter what you think about preparing for Christmas before Thanksgiving, in just about a month kids everywhere will be excitedly opening gifts under the tree.

But not every child will have a tree, nor a gift, because many of them don’t even have a home.

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You probably remember the magic of opening up a present on Christmas morning finding inside the packaging exactly what you wanted.

But hundreds of kids in Fayette County, maybe someone you know, won’t know that joy this year.

Children without a home often experience a gift-less Christmas.

“Other kids are benefiting and having a great time for Christmas. Why should someone not have a great time or not have a smile on their face because of circumstances they had nothing to do with?”, says Lima Drive Seventh-Day Adventist Church Pastor Winston Taylor.

The church is hosting a toy drive focused on homeless kids in Lexington.

Pastor Taylor says that isn’t just students sleeping on the streets, but also kids moving from home to home, couch to couch.

“It breaks my heart. It crushes my spirit to know that every single night my three little kids will sleep in a warm bed and somebody is struggling,” says Pastor Taylor.

He knows what that feels like.

“There was a time in my life that I didn’t live with parents. There was a time in my life where I was living with friends literally and not sure if I was gonna have somewhere else but I never considered it as homeless,” says Taylor.

Fayette County Public Schools Homeless Education Liaison James Hodge says what the church is doing is important because the need is great.

He says right now, there are over 550 students in the district considered homeless. He expects that number to double by the spring and that’s only the families that actually report they’re homeless.

“If you are couch surfing, living at someone’s home or living in a condition that’s not fit for living just call our office,” says Hodge.

You can find information about his office by clicking here.

Several of the toy drive’s gifts will go to homeless students at nearby Harrison Elementary. One of the schools Hodge says has the greatest number of homeless students in the district.

The 2nd annual toy drive is happening now until December 12th.

If you’d like to help, you can drop off toys at the church located at 541 Lima Drive or New York Fashions at 1650 Bryan Station Road; Sprint at 524 W. New Circle Road; Popeyes at 115 E. New Circle Road.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.