The volunteers hung lights on the Christmas tree and straightened the stockings over the mantle. Another installed a light fixture, while others cleaned and prepared various rooms in the house. For days, the community came together to paint, decorate, clean and store as the old house, belonging to a church in downtown Bardstown, received a makeover for a family in need.
Liberty Tax Service, a Bardstown company, has been running a holiday campaign for years to help bring Christmas to local families in need, from toys and clothes to food, rent assistance and utilities and other needs.
Families are nominated by other members of the community, and applicants are screened and selected based on need. Mary Taylor, owner of Liberty Tax Service, said they serve different families each year and to be eligible they must be local, working or attempting to work, and not abusing drugs or alcohol.
In the past, the program has helped many families in special circumstances. This year, however, organizers had a big Christmas wishlist to check off – a place to live for a terminally ill mother, her husband, and six children.
âShe has breast, bone and brain cancer, she is terminally ill and they were homeless,â Taylor said. âThey lost their home, they lost everything. They’ve been fighting this for seven years, and she’s at the end of the battle.
Taylor and her fellow volunteers not only wanted to provide the family with Christmas, but also a place where they could spend it together. So she contacted the community and the response was phenomenal.
âThe community shows up for this every year,â Taylor said of the Christmas program. âWe’ve done amazing things together, but it takes the whole community. This year they really intensified.
After combing through newspapers, social media and everywhere else, the volunteers finally found a downtown rental house large enough to accommodate the family. But finding the house was only the first step. Soon after, donations poured in with offers to repaint the house, make necessary repairs, clean it and furnish it. Monetary donations helped cover a year’s rent, while others helped with utilities, clothing, food and other household items.
âThey blew me away this year,â Taylor said of the volunteers and donors. âThe amount of time, effort and money invested in this project is incredible. “
The house was also a total surprise, Taylor said.
Family members – whose names are withheld to respect their privacy – have been told they are going out to dinner and the children will receive their Christmas presents.
But instead, they were greeted with a “Welcome Home” banner in front of a fully furnished house, closets full of clothes, a Christmas-ready living room, gifts under the tree, and a catered Christmas meal.