Charity donates toys and clothing to Graves County CASA Group

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) – One of the many buildings in Mayfield destroyed by the EF-4 tornado on Dec. 10 was the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Office for Graves County and Southwest Office from Kentucky. On Tuesday, a Texas-based charity group dropped off a truckload of supplies to provide clothing and gifts to the children the regional CASA serves.

Members of the Cotton Foundation, the charitable arm of commercial catering company Cotton Holdings, dropped off gifts and supplies, such as new toys, clothing and shoes, to donate to families served by CASA in Graves County and South -western Kentucky. Some of the donations will also benefit children and families served by the Paducah-based Child Watch Children’s Advocacy Center.

Kelly Cox, volunteer coordinator for CASA Graves County, said the organization serves about 65 children in Graves, Carlisle, Hickman and Fulton counties, many of whom live in foster care. CASA volunteers work with children who have suffered abuse or neglect and advocate for their best interests in the courtroom.

None of the children served by the group were injured in the storm, Cox said. Some of the biological families of the children CASA Graves County serves were affected, and Cox said three CASA volunteers lost their homes and vehicles. These same volunteers, she said, were the first to call their children CASA to make sure they were safe.

With the CASA Graves County office destroyed, Cox stores much of the Cotton Foundation’s donations in his garage, where advocates and volunteers will then choose gifts for the children. She said receiving these donations from the Cotton Foundation helps provide these children with gifts and toys to open at Christmas.

“This business, it’s just such a blessing,” Cox said. “They donated – everything new, of course – clothes, shoes, underwear, pajamas, bikes, bike helmets and every kind of toy you can imagine. We have definitely been blessed.

Paul Kerby, vice president of business development for Cotton Commercial USA, part of Cotton Holdings, was in Paducah to help unload donations at Child Watch and is in Mayfield to work with Cotton Holdings, which specializes in disaster relief. disaster relief and infrastructure support. Kerby said the Cotton Foundation had a volunteer employee at a CASA group in Texas who suggested the foundation help a CASA group hit by tornadoes in Kentucky.

Kerby said the Cotton Foundation normally partners with local groups in disaster-affected areas so those groups can distribute the foundation’s donations to people in need. He added that it was good to help CASA of Graves County so that they can meet needs throughout the year and help with donations that CASA might not otherwise have received. One of the best parts for him has been seeing how well the volunteers know the kids they serve, and even being able to choose specific gifts that they know certain kids will like.

CASA Graves County’s first goal is to make sure kids have a good Christmas, Cox said. After that, the organization will assess where to go from there and where to build a new office to serve children and families.

Cox said CASA advocates will be delivering gifts to the children they serve over the next few days to ensure they receive them before Christmas.

A PayPal link to donate to CASA of Graves County to help provide services to children in need and to help CASA rebuild an office in Graves County is available at Donations can also be mailed to CASA of Graves County & Southwest KY at PO Box 5200 Mayfield, KY 42066.

Elizabeth J. Harless