American Red Cross gives toys to families who lost homes to fires

American Red Cross gives toys to families who lost homes to fires
Tiara and her mother, Bobbie Kelley (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Tiara and her mother, Bobbie Kelley (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - There's no place like home for the holidays. A warm meal, a Christmas tree and gifts to go under that tree are things many of us may take for granted this holiday season.

On Monday night, the American Red Cross gave toys to children who lost their homes to fires in 2017.

Children and their parents stood in line to meet Santa and Nana Clause, many looking nervous to meet someone they hear about once a year.

"There's quite a few that have RSVP'ed to come down," Ethel Swan said in her Nana Clause dress.

Ethel and her husband Jerry both have connections to the Fern Creek Fire Department, where the gift giving happened Monday night.

Jerry is a retired firefighter and Ethel still makes runs for EMS in the area. They both share the duty of being Santa and Nana Clause each year though, and have been for the past 23 years.

Most of the children broke out in smiles as they sat on Santa's lap to tell him what they asked for this year. Some photos, videos and a candy cane later, the children were on their way with a big bag of what they had asked for.

"Santa got me…" Tiara trailed off. "I forgot." Tiara's mother, Bobbie Kelley, helped her open her big bag to reveal that Santa had brought her a giant coloring book, some Crayons and a Barbie.

Kelley said she was thankful for the folks who have had their back not only during the fire that took their Portland home in April, but also in the time following the fire.

"Thank you. I mean my kids are safe, that's everything," Kelley said. "Everything else can be replaced but my kids, everyone was out of the house and [they] kept them from freaking out and going back in."

For Kelley, this bit of Christmas miracle brought her healing.

"It's great. It's been a long year," Kelley said with a sigh. "It's been a tough year so it's great."

The Swans said that's precisely the reason they do this every year. For the smiles, the laughter and the relief they can bring to parents during the holiday season.

"It's our 23rd year of being Santa and Nana Clause," they said. "We look forward to it every year."

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