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Santa needs your help: How to make sure kids in Western Ky. have presents for the holidays

A call is going out for anyone who wants to be an elf this week. First Lady Britainy Beshear is organizing a toy drive across the Commonwealth.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky First Lady Britainy Beshear and Governor Andy Beshear were almost too emotional to speak Monday when announcing a toy drive to make sure every Kentucky child impacted by the devastating tornadoes that hit the western part of the state still has a magical Christmas.

In times of tragedy, Mr. Rogers told kids to "look to the helpers" for comfort.
Some of those helpers across the state of Kentucky, and the country, are lending a hand to Santa Claus to help with Christmas.

Less than 24 hours after a toy drive was announced by the first lady, and within five hours of doors opening at one of the collection sites in Louisville, the St. Matthews Police Department had received hundreds of toys.

They say they were absolutely shocked by the number of toys and the people bringing them by the station on such short notice. The first lady expressed a similar feeling, falling short on words to describe her pride for the Commonwealth in this tough time.

"I don't have words to describe what it is to see such an outpouring of love in people's worst moments," Britainy Beshear said.  "Kentuckians have stepped up and supported each other and people across the country have stepped up and supported each other"

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

At the St. Matthews Police Department, there was a constant stream of people in and out of the building with toys in tow. Chief Barry Wilkerson said he had plenty of work to do Tuesday, but collection efforts needed immediate attention.

"Christmas is probably the last thing on their minds right now but hopefully this will be a bright spot for them and their children," Chief Wilkerson said. "Obviously everything they have is destroyed.  Anything we can do as [a] law enforcement agency, we're going to do for them."

If you are able to give for the toy drive, don't wrap the gifts. They want parents to be able to wrap the gifts and make them special for the kids. Instead, consider donating gift wrapping supplies.

The first lady said gift cards are another good idea so parents can get exactly what their children put on their Christmas list.  If you go that route, they're asking for $25 each.

The deadline for donations is Dec. 18. In Louisville, you can donate at the St. Matthews Police Department, or at Broadbent Arena through the Gate 4 entrance. A full list of donation locations is available on the state website.

Contact reporter Hayley Minogue at hminogue@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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