LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tuesday, several Kentucky state parks hosted "Christmas Storefronts" to distribute toys collected through First Lady Britainy Beshear’s Western Kentucky Toy Drive.
Governor Andy Beshear said as of Monday, 635 displaced Kentuckians were staying in state parks' lodging, along with 194 first responders.
Beshear said families are guaranteed a month-long stay. In response to the need, Kentucky State Parks leaders called for volunteers in the New Year to help with things like housekeeping and maintenance.
“It’s not uncommon for us to house a family or two that’s been displaced for whatever reason for a short time," Deputy Commissioner Will Adams said.
Adams said people staying at the parks have had lodging, meals and access to wraparound services.
"It's waiting, talking with FEMA representatives, talking with the Red Cross, trying to figure out how to put on foot in front of the other," he said.
After the holidays, Adams said he anticipates help will trickle off. The winter is also typically the slow season for state resort parks, so staff have a lot more work on their hands with full rooms.
"At the impacted parks, we're 7 days a week 3 meals a day and our staffing levels are not at the level to support that right now," he said.
Kentucky State Parks need volunteers after the New Year to help with housekeeping, food service and maintenance. Adams said they also need to be local or provide their own housing.
"We just don't have the rooms to give right now so we need local folks who can give the commitment," he said.
With Christmas just days away, the parks did have room for joy Tuesday. Governor Beshear visited Kenlake State Resort Park and Kentucky Dam Village to distribute presents collected through the state's toy drive.
"It's like we're working a mini UPS," Beshear said Monday. "It's incredible to see the amount of boxes and it just keeps pouring in."
“These families have been through so much and we’re trying to give them some sense of the holiday spirit, something to be excited about," Adams said.
If you're interested in volunteering, contact Andy Kasitz at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the following information: your name, a cell phone number, the name of park(s) at which you wish to volunteer and your availability.
There will be another Christmas Storefront on Thursday, December 23rd from 10 am to 4 pm CST.
Monday, Governor Beshear said there are still rooms at six parks.
Parks with vacancies still available for displaced families are:
- Kentucky Dam Village – 4 rooms available
- Kenlake State Resort Park – 13 rooms available
- Lake Barkley State Resort Park – 3 rooms available
- Barren River Lake State Resort Park – 42 rooms available
- John James Audubon State Park – 4 rooms available
- Rough River Dam State Resort Park – 51 rooms available
Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.
Have a news tip? Email email@example.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.