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'It will not steal our joy': Kentucky school doesn't let COVID stop decades-old Christmas tradition

The Buckner community has gathered essentials for the less fortunate for 22 years and this year was different, but the spirit was still there.

BUCKNER, Ky. — It packed more excitement than Christmas morning. The drop-off line at Buckner Elementary took on new meaning this Friday before Winter Break.

"Because we're helping people in need," one student said.

This community has gathered essentials for the less fortunate for 22 years. It's usually an assembly that packs the multi-purpose room.

"Thank you. Thank you, buddy."

The effort does not lack the gratitude of the participants. 

"Collecting the giving tree stuff and other stuff"

School staff who organize the event said it's a multi-purpose lesson for these young cubs.

"The bear essential of compassion and how to help others who are in need," Principal, Liz Dant said.  

COVID closures threatened to end the tradition and Dant refused to let this pandemic grinch get away with it.

"Well it may try to steal our Christmas but it will not steal our joy," Dant told students and staff.

Make no mistake, this was to help the community and it also went a long way towards easing worried minds and mending broken hearts.

"We miss seeing them in person to actually be able see them and talk to them in person. So to even be able to see them and talk to them for just a couple of minutes is the best Christmas gift," one joyful teacher said.

It was a couple of minutes that returned the sparkle to the holidays.

And a renewed bond between students and teachers.

"It has been hard to be apart from them and only see them on a screen but we are hopeful that on January 11th they'll be back here in person and we'll see them," said Principal Dant.

Thankful, Grateful, and hopeful for what the new year will bring to Buckner.

"...Merry Christmas."

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