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Non-profit donates thousands of shoes to Kentuckians displaced by tornadoes

Kentucky officials visited two state parks housing Kentuckians displaced by the Dec. 10 storms to hand deliver shoes donated by a non-profit group.

DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. — Officials visited two state parks housing displaced Kentuckians to hand deliver some of the thousands of shoes donated by a non-profit group for those impacted by the Dec. 10 tornado outbreak .

Governor Andy Beshear and Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman visited Lake Barkley State Park in Cadiz and Pennyrile Forest State Park in Dawson Springs to meet with those who had lost everything in the storms.

Beshear said he would commit to keeping assistance in western Kentucky for more than just days or weeks. 

"We will be here every single day for however long it takes to rebuild every building and every life," he said. "To get everyone as close as we can to where they need to be."

More than 600 Kentuckians and 180 first responders are currently being housed in state parks across western and central Kentucky.

When University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari heard the governor say that displaced Kentuckians needed shoes, he contacted Manny Ohonme, president and CEO of Samaritan's Feet.

The non-profit provides children in need with shoes to build a foundation for them to have a healthy life.

Beshear said Samaritan's Feet has donated thousands of shoes to Kentuckians impacted by last week's devastating tornadoes.

"So many people are stepping up in big ways to support our families in Western Kentucky," Coleman said. "We Kentuckians have grit, but we have compassion in equal measure, and we truly are showing up for each other right now."

"Today, Manny, you too are a Kentuckian," she said.

Shoes will continue to be distributed to those staying at other state resort parks, as well as those sheltering elsewhere in the region.

RELATED: How to help Western Kentucky families following historic tornado outbreak

Volunteers still needed

Beshear said on Saturday that volunteers are still needed from Christmas Day through the following week.

If you wish to help, contact Andy Kasitz, assistant director of resort parks for Kentucky State Parks, at 502-418-3581 or by email at: andy.kasitz@ky.gov.

Volunteers will need to make their own arrangements for housing.

RELATED: Daily updates: The latest on the tornadoes that left 78 dead in Kentucky

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